Domestic work in South Africa, one year after Constitutional Court victory (18 November 2021). Friday, 19 November 2021 will mark the first anniversary since the Constitutional Court handed down a monumental judgment in Mahlangu v Minister of Labour compelling the inclusion of domestic workers in legislation aimed at protecting workers. On Wednesday, 24 November 2021, SERI and the Nelson Mandela Foundation will host an anniversary event reflecting on the status of domestic work in South Africa since the Constitutional Court judgment. >> Read the full statement here.
Constitutional Court confirms Mashaba’s inner city raids unconstitutional (25 October 2021). On Friday 22 October 2021, the Constitutional Court confirmed an earlier judgment by the Johannesburg High Court declaring section 13(7)(c) of the South African Police Services Act 68 of 1995 (the SAPS Act) constitutionally invalid insofar as it allows for warrantless searches. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI stands by claims for damages made by the deceased miners' families against the state (19 August 2021). On 17 August 2021, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Solicitor General Fhedzisani Pandelani provided an update on the reparations paid to the victims of the Marikana Massacre in a media briefing. However, some statements made by the Solicitor General are inaccurate. These statements pertain to three issues: the state’s approach to reparations relating to the Marikana Massacre; details of the claims paid out to the families for loss of support; and the families’ claims for general and constitutional damages. The families have lived with loss and trauma since 2012. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) stands by their claims for damages. >> Read the full statement here.
New guide helps employers navigate the domestic employment relationship (13 August 2021). SERI and Izwi have written a new guide, called “Employing a Domestic Worker: a legal and practical guide”, for employers of domestic workers in South Africa to inform them of their rights and obligations in the employment relationship and to provide practical advice and support to assist them in improving their employment practices. >> Read the full statement here.
Marikana Massacre 9th Commemoration (10 August 2021). This year marks the 9th year since the Marikana massacre. On 9 August 2012, the mineworkers embarked on a strike over their working conditions and to demand a living wage. On 16 August 2012, the South African Police Service (SAPS) attempted to end the strike by responding with lethal force. Over the course of a few days, the cumulative death toll reached 44 people including mineworkers, Lonmin security personnel and two SAPS officers. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI and Izwi Domestic Workers Alliance launch new guide for domestic employers (9 August 2021). Many employers are unaware of the laws which regulate the domestic employment relationship, and domestic workers are often afraid to approach them. For example, although the law requires all employers to register their domestic workers for UIF, only about 20% of employers have done so. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI condemns the warrantless raids conducted by the police under operation “show your receipt” (23 July 2021). In the aftermath of the recent unrest and the looting in various industries, loss of life and racial tensions in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal, the response by the South African authorities to conduct indiscriminate warrantless searches has violated the guaranteed Constitutional rights to privacy and human dignity. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI condemns the use of lethal force against peaceful protestors in eSwatini (2 July 2021). Over the past month, the people of eSwatini have intensified pro-democracy protests demanding systemic political reforms. The protests call for reform following years of widespread suppression of political actors, human rights defenders and journalists through the misuse of the law, arbitrary detention, torture and death. The protests also take place against a backdrop of persistent economic hardship and increasing unemployment. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI stands in solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo and condemns the abuse of the criminal justice system (17 May 2021). On Tuesday, 4 May 2021, Abahlali baseMjondolo deputy president Mqapheli Bonono and Abahlali member and eKhenana resident Siniko Miya were arrested and charged with ‘conspiracy to commit murder’. These charges stem from witness statements made in relation to a recent meeting with the residents of eKhenana about a murder that took place in Cato Manor in March. We condemn these efforts to stifle movements of dissent by the harassment and criminalisation of targeted figures. We reject this abuse of the criminal justice system and call for the urgent release of Mqapheli Bonono, Siniko Miya and Maphiwe Gasa. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI seeks clarity from Compensation Commissioner regarding deadline for retrospective claims from domestic workers (5 May 2021). On 8 April 2021, SERI addressed a letter to the Compensation Commissioner on the subject of retrospective claims from domestic workers injured at the workplace as far back as 27 April 1994. The main concern of the letter was the cut-off date for submitting retrospective claims, 20 November 2021, as published by the Compensation Commissioner in the Government Gazette on 10 March 2021. As South Africa celebrates workers in the month of May, SERI wishes to highlight a potential challenge affecting one of the country’s most vulnerable groups of workers. >> Read the full statement here.
Illegal eviction renders Dunkeld West residents homeless (9 April 2021). On Tuesday 6 April 2021, employees of the Red Ant Security Relocation & Eviction Services, with the supervision of the Sheriff, illegally evicted dozens of residents from their homes on a property in Dunkeld West, leaving them homeless and destitute. During the eviction, residents lost their homes and most had their furniture and personal possessions destroyed, resulting in the elderly and mothers with infants having to sleep on the street. In addition to being evicted from their homes, the residents have had to endure harassment and intimidation from law enforcement and private security. SERI has launched an urgent application for the restoration of the residents to their homes and to restrain any further interference with their occupation until a proper court order has been obtained. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI welcomes the release of the Marikana Panel of Experts Report on Policing and Crowd Management (31 March 2021). On 29 March 2021, the Minister of Police Bheki Cele released the Panel of Experts Report on Policing and Crowd Management. The Panel of Experts was established in 2016 by then Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko in terms of the recommendations of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. The panel was chaired by the late judge David Sakelene Vusimuzi Ntshangase and comprised of national and international experts in policing and members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Civilian Secretariat for Police. The panel submitted the report to the Minister of Police in July 2018. >> Read the full statement here.
SERI condemns SAPS use of force against peaceful student protestors (10 March 2021). For the past five days, students at the University of the Witwatersrand have embarked on protests over their grievances about the financial exclusion of students at the University. On Wednesday, 10 March, students staged a protest in Braamfontein, on Jorissen, De Korte and De Beer streets. Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) responded violently to the protests, resorting to firing rubber bullets, using water cannons, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesting students. We have learned that numerous people have been gravely injured and that a number of students have been arrested. We have also recently learned that one person has been killed and for this we extend our deepest condolences to their family and loved ones. >> Read the full statement here.
Midrand waste reclaimers challenge attempts to render them homeless (1 March 2021). On Monday, 1 March 2021, a cohort of 107 waste reclaimers will appear before the High Court in Johannesburg to oppose eviction from their homes. The property is undeveloped land located between a residential complex and a business park in Midrand, Johannesburg. The applicant is Rycloff-Beleggings (Pty) Ltd, the registered title-holder of the property. The occupiers are informal reclaimers who have been residing on the property for at least five years. In addition to living on the property, access to the land has enabled them to eke out a living by sorting and storing their recyclable materials on site. >> Read the full statement here.
For a full archive of all SERI press statements from 2010 to 2021, see here.