On 23 May 2019, the North Gauteng High Court handed down an order declaring the exclusion of domestic workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) as unconstitutional. On Wednesday, 12 June 2019, SERI together with the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU) as the second applicant, further argued that the declaration of invalidity must be applied retrospectively to provide relief to domestic workers who were injured or died at work prior to the granting of the order declaring the exclusion of domestic workers from COIDA as invalid.
SERI represents the surviving daughter of a domestic worker, Maria Mahlangu, in this case. Maria died at her employer’s home during the course of her employment. Under the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), her daughter was precluded from claiming from the Compensation Fund which compensates employees, or their survivors, for work-related injuries, illnesses or death.
The Commission for Gender Equality joined the case as amicus curiae and made submissions on the legal principles governing the question of retrospectivity and the reasons why the retrospective application of the order is just and equitable.