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[ADVOCACY] SERI participates in SAHRC dialogue on domestic worker rights and COIDA (13 March 2024).

SAHRC COIDA roundtableOn 7 March 2024, SERI participated in a Dialogue on the Rights of Domestic Workers in terms of the amendments made to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 (COIDA). The dialogue was hosted by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), in collaboration with the Women Legal Centre (WLC). SERI's Asenati Tukela, Qobo Ningiza, Yongeza Mbimbi participated in the dialogue on behalf of SERI.

The dialogue was facilitated by Chriscy Blouws of the WLC, who also opened the event with introductory remarks that provided the background of the domestic work sector in South Africa. SERI’s attorney, Asenati Tukela shared the background of the Mahlangu case and provided an overview of the developments in the law regarding domestic workers and their protections in the workplace, in particular, the COIDA amendments and the implications of the litigation. Izwi Domestic Workers Alliance's Maggie Mthombeni and Pinky Mashiane from United Domestic Workers of South Africa (UDWOSA) were also in attendance and they shared their insights on the working conditions of domestic workers in South Africa and the continued human rights violations that they face in the workplace.

Harry Maphologela and Vusi Zwane from the Compensation Fund also participated in the dialogue. They provided an overview of what the COIDA claims process entails and gave guidance on available reporting and accountability avenues should the claims process fail either domestic workers or their employers. The roundtable ended with an undertaking by the participants to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to advance the interests of domestic workers.  

[ADVOCACY] SERI hosts Global Affairs Canada representative (11 March 2024).

KerryGAC InnerCityFed visitOn 26 February 2024, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) hosted Global Affairs Canada (GAC) representative, Kerry Max, for a half-day visit to SERI.

The purpose of the visit was for Kerry to obtain an introduction to SERI and learn more about the organisation. GAC funds the Women’s Spaces Project and works with Rooftops Canada to implement it. Rooftops has partnered with SERI to implement the South African portion of the project. The goal is to increase women’s equal access to land and housing rights.

Upon arrival, Kerry was introduced to the Women’s Spaces team, SERI's Executive Director Nomzamo Zondo, SERI the organization, and the Inner City Federation (ICF). Kerry received an overview of the Women’s Spaces project, its current activities, and a few planned activities.

The group visited four inner city buildings, led by the ICF. This included three occupied buildings, namely Jeanlaw Court, Manhattan Court, and 58 Auret, as well as one site of Temporary Emergency Accommodation, 133 Albert.

This visit forms part of the Women’s Spaces project at SERI which focuses on women’s rights to land and housing in sub-Saharan Africa.

[MAHLANGU] This International Women's Day, SERI spotlights domestic work (8 March 2024).

Mahlangu Event Nov2023 panelToday, 8 March, is globally celebrated as the International Women’s Day. On this day, SERI is raising awareness on the rights of domestic workers. Domestic work is the largest source of employment for black women in South Africa. Their care work and household work enables others to carry out their own jobs, is essential to the functioning of families all over the country, and is a significant contribution to the national economy.

SERI, in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, hosted an annual commemorative dialogue to mark the anniversary of the landmark Constitutional Court judgment in Mahlangu v Minister of Labour since the judgment. The landmark judgment saw the inclusion of domestic workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 (COIDA) and allowed for the findings to apply retrospectively.

The judgment has significant implications for the domestic workers of South Africa: not only can domestic workers and dependants who experience work-related injuries, diseases, and death claim from the Compensation Fund, but those domestic workers and dependants who have experienced work-related injuries, diseases or death as far back as 27 April 1994 are also able to submit claims.

On 22 November 2023, the dialogue entitled, "Three Years after Mahlangu: Taking Stock of Domestic Work in South Africa" brought together government, civil society organisations representing domestic workers and employers, and members of the public to discuss key issues in the sector and collectively explore solutions. The central concern voiced by the keynote speaker and the panellists was the low number of domestic worker COIDA claims being processed, which was approximately 14 according to the latest information SERI obtained from the Compensation Fund, and the low number of registrations by employers of domestic workers.

Domestic WorkerSERI is calling for domestic workers who have experienced a workplace injury or contracted a disease, and dependents of domestic workers who died due to a workplace injury/disease to:

  • WhatsApp 082 590 9492 and follow the prompts.
  • Call 011 356 5860.

We will then provide you with advice and assist you with the submission process for your claim.

  • Read more about the Mahlangu case here.
  • Watch a recording of the event here.
  • Download the employers guide here.

[ADVOCACY] SERI hosts the Shelter & Settlements Alternative Uganda for an exchange visit (28 February 2024).

SSA Uganda visitFrom 19 to 21 February 2024, SERI hosted the Shelter & Settlements Alternative: Uganda Human Settlements Network (SSA) for an exchange visit on gender equality in land and housing.  

The exchange visit allowed SERI and SSA to share insights and experiences regarding their efforts in advancing access to land and housing, with a specific focus on gender equality. The exchange facilitated networking opportunities and cultural exchanges between the two organizations and included learning from SERI's operation strategies.

On the first day of the exchange program, SSA was introduced to SERI’s research and advocacy and engaged with SERI’s senior leadership. On the second day, SSA observed litigation consultations and gained firsthand experience in SERI's client engagement processes, further enhancing their understanding of operational strategies. The day concluded with SSA's exploration of spatial inequality through a guided tour of Johannesburg. On the last day of the exchange, SSA joined ICF’s inner-city residents for a consultation on women’s challenges in Johannesburg's inner-city buildings.

This exchange formed part of the Women’s Spaces project at SERI which focuses on women’s rights to land and housing in sub-Saharan Africa. The project is supported by Rooftops Canada.

[TRIBUTE] SERI mourns the death of the Unemployed People's Movement's Ayanda Kota (23 February 2024).

5Dec drought EC JP 4 1920x1280 AyandaKota NewFrameSERI is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ayanda Kota and we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. SERI represented Ayanda Kota in a civil damages case for his unlawful arrest and detention in 2012. While wrongfully arresting Kota, the police assaulted him in front of his son and was detained for approximately 17 hours.

In 2020, SERI was fortunate to have interviewed Ayanda Kota for a water rights case study, entitled Makana Local Municipality: provincial intervention in municipal crisis. Kota was generous with his time and knowledge, and most importantly was very passionate about addressing the myriad of challenges that plagued the Makana’s local governance.

He and the Unemployed People’s Movement played an important role in advocating for the interests of the poor and holding the Makana Local Municipality accountable over the years. Because of his work, he was forced to go into hiding in 2020 due to threats against him and his family.  Despite this, his commitment to justice led him to contest the 2021 local government elections, under the coalition Makana Citizen’s Front in which they won five proportional representation seats.

In 2022, Kota co-hosted a workshop with the Marikana families at the Grahamstown Arts Festival which helped host the 10th anniversary of the Marikana massacre. Again, Kota was gracious and expressed his solidarity with the families’ quest for justice.

Comrade Ayanda Kota’s contribution to the struggle for the poor is invaluable and he will be sorely missed.