The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) invites you to the launch of:
Domestic Workers’ Rights:
A Legal and Practical Guide
What does the law in South Africa say about domestic workers?
What are the minimum conditions of employment for domestic workers?
What are employers’ obligations towards their domestic workers?
Where can domestic workers go to protect their rights?
Domestic work is one of the largest sources of employment for black women in South Africa, however domestic workers remain one of the most vulnerable occupational groups due to being positioned at the intersection of three lines along which inequality is generated: race, gender and class. Many domestic workers continue to be subjected to exploitative working conditions and disrespectful treatment. Despite the implementation of labour laws and the collective efforts of domestic workers to assert their rights, domestic workers’ employment rights are not always realised.
This user-friendly resource guide aims to create awareness of the rights of domestic workers and the obligations of employers in terms of the domestic employment relationship. It explains what the law says about domestic workers and gives practical advice on how domestic workers can engage with their employers. We will also launch a series of short, mobile-friendly Zulu information sheets on the rights of domestic workers.
The launch will include a panel discussion between researchers, activists, labour law practitioners and domestic workers to discuss the employment rights of domestic workers in South Africa.
Who: Carin Runciman (senior researcher at University of Johannesburg), Ronald Wesso (labour rights activist at the Casual Workers Advice Office), Nomuhle Maggie Mthombeni (domestic worker and activist), Kelebogile Khunou (SERI researcher), Julius Molefe (commissioner at CCMA). Moderator: Alana Potter (SERI director of research and advocacy).
When: 4 May 2018, 10h00 to 12h00.
Where: SERI, 6th Floor Aspern House, 54 De Korte Street, Braamfontein.
On Saturday, 21 April 2018, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) hosted a day-long workshop for community-based activists from Zola and Soweto on how to resist unlawful evictions in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The workshop, which was attended by approximately 16 activists, dealt with a variety of issues linked to the legal processes that owners should comply with before a court would grant an eviction order and the steps that activists or community members could take to resist unlawful evictions.
During the workshop, participates used SERI's user-friendly resource guide on resisting evictions, entitled Resisting Evictions in South Africa: A Legal and Practical Guide (March 2015). This guide explains your rights and the law regarding evictions, and gives practical advice on how to resist them.
On 20 April 2018, SERI participated in a discussion workshop on the City of Johannesburg's draft inclusionary housing policy hosted by the South African Research Chair on Spatial Analysis and City Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The City published the draft policy, along with its draft Nodal Review, on 28 February 2018 and has invited interested parties to submit written comments on the policy by 30 April 2018.
The discussion workshop consisted of Acting Assistant Director of Metro Planning for the City of Johannesburg, Dylan Weakly, presenting the City's proposed policy and answering questions about its application and implementation. The discussion workshop, which was attended by government officials at city, provincial and national levels, civil society representatives and academics, illicited considerable discussion and debate about the value and limitations of the City's draft policy.
The majority of participants welcomed the City's attempts to address spatial justice and provide more affordable rental housing stock. However, participants also voiced concern about the draft policy's lack of accountability mechanisms, the issue of the costs of utilities, the inability of the policy to satisfactorily address the housing needs of low-income residents (at scale), and various loopholes contained in the policy (which property developers are likely to exploit).
SERI senior research associate, Michael Clark, attended the discussion workshop.
On 19 April 2018, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), in partnership with the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, hosted a half-day short course for journalists on various aspects of land reform at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. The half-day workshop sought to clear the muddy waters around land reform, and equip journalists with the tools to interrogate both land reform policies and the statements politicians, activists, farmers and others make about land reform. Approximately 40 journalists participated in the workshop.
The workshop clarified the issues around the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ principle, land expropriation, urban land reform, budgets for land acquisition and farmer support, farm evictions, women’s land rights, traditional leaders and traditional councils, foreign land ownership and more. The workshop also provided journalists with useful reference materials to use when covering land reform issues, and ideas about key land reform questions that are not being answered by current land reform policy and practice.
The course was presented by Ruth Hall and Ben Cousins (from PLAAS) and Lauren Royston (from SERI).
The City of Ekurhuleni is appealing a December 2017 decision where the North Gauteng High Court ordered the municipality to build 133 houses for the residents of the Winnie Mandela Informal Settlement near Tembisa.
In the judgment, handed down on 15 December 2017, judge Mmonoa Teffo found that Ekurhuleni had failed to provide the residents with houses that were constructed with their government-approved housing subsidies. The houses were instead occupied by other, unknown people, often as a result of corruption in the housing allocation process, which Ekurhuleni controls. This, the court found, breached the residents’ constitutional and statutory housing rights.
The municipality contends that the High Court should have ordered it to treat the residents just like thousands of other people who were waiting for housing at a new development it says will be ready “subject to funding availability” in 2021.
This position is based on the misconception that the essence of the breach of the residents’ rights was in the municipality’s “unreasonable delay in constructing houses for the residents”. This is, however, untrue as the essence of the breach is in fact that houses were actually constructed, but were not given to the residents, for whom they were intended. The houses were instead given to other people no-one can identify.
The matter will be heard on a preferential basis on 2 May 2018 in the Supreme Court of Appeal.