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[SUBMISSION] SERI and LHR make a submission on the draft National Labour Migration Policy and the Employment Services Amendment Bill (30 May 2022).

submission with LHROn 27 May 2022 SERI and LHR made a submission to the national Department of Employment and Labour on the draft National Labour Migration Policy and the Employment Services Amendment Bill that was released for public comment on 28 February 2022. 

Although SERI and LHR acknowledge that there is some merit to bringing clarity to issues in the formal employment relationship, and although we agree with government on the need to address the high rate of unemployment in the country, our critique of the policy and Bill relates largely to the following, which we set out in greater detail in the submission:

  • The contemplated restrictions to the right to work go against South Africa’s obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) that protects the right to work regardless of nationality, legal status and documentation. The proposed measures are also inconsistent with various rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. 
  • The policy and Bill aim to regulate a broad spectrum of sectors and skills-levels (from critical skills to low-skilled work) under the same umbrella legislation, therefore not considering sector-specific challenges and nuances, as well as potentially varied outcomes.
  • The policy and Bill are premised on a false assumption that the solution to the high unemployment facing the country lies in the restriction of migrant work and the reservation of opportunities for South African workers. This assumption has been repeatedly debunked through research and is also not supported in consultations that SERI and LHR have done with client groups in preparing this submission. It is a proposal that misses the complexity of the problem as well as its structural underpinnings. 
  • Pitting local workers against migrant workers, whether in public discourse or proposed legislation, has the potential to further fuel xenophobic tensions. This does not imply a lack of sympathy for South Africans who are struggling under the weight of unemployment, but this narrative shifts the full blame for unemployment onto migrants, while the reality is more complex and structural. 

This submission is informed by consultations with partners and clients from three sectors or interest groups: domestic workers, farm workers, and refugees and asylum seekers. As set out in the submission, in all three groups we found large-scale opposition to restrictions placed on the right to work of foreign nationals. 

SERI and LHR therefore argue for a substantial reconceptualisation of the NLMP and Bill in relation to how its provisions affect the right to work of migrants, particularly in low-skilled work. 

The submission is endorsed by ten organisations and networks. 

  • Download the full submission here

[SUBMISSION] SERI makes a submission on the Rental Housing Tribunal Regulations (24 May 2022).

Rental Housing Submission 2022Last week, SERI made a submission to the Department of Human Settlements on the Rental Housing Tribunal Regulations, 2021. Prior to this submission, SERI engaged with the previous version of the Rental Housing Tribunal Regulations and made a submission in May 2021. SERI stands by its original submission and wish to supplement it with additional emphases on some key aspects in this submission. SERI acknowledges that several of its previous suggestions appear to have been taken into consideration and relevant changes are reflected in the current version of the Regulations.

SERI welcomes the Regulations and seek to make submissions on six components we believe will be important in fulfilling the ambitions of the Regulations and the Rental Housing Act to promote a stable and growing market that progressively meets the latent demand for affordable rental housing among previously disadvantaged, poor and low-income persons.  These are: 

  • Affordable rental; 
  • Remission or abatement of rent;
  • Legal aid representation for tenants; 
  • Defined terms; 
  • Formalistic and inaccessible Regulations;
  • Comments on lease agreements;
  • Comments on norms and standards.

The submission provides specific recommendations for each concern. 

  • Read SERI’s 2022 submission here
  • Read SERI’s 2021 submission here

[OP-ED] SERI's Kelebogile Khunou & IZWI's Amy Tekie explain labour law for domestic workers (11 May 2022).

Fin24 Tekie Khunou 10MayOn 10 May 2022, Fin24 published and opinion editorial written by Izwi's Amy Tekie and SERI researcher Kelebogile Khunou entitled, 'Labour law for domestic workers explained'. The op-ed explains the recent changes in labour laws affecting domestic workers. As of 1 March 2022, employers of domestic workers are required to pay their employees a minimum wage of R23.19 per hour, as announced by Minister for Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi. 

Tekie and Khunou write that: "This translates to approximately R4 019.57 per month for a 40-hour work-week and R4 522.02 for 45 hours per week. Overtime must be paid for any hours worked beyond 45 hours, and should be paid at 1.5 times the employee’s normal wage. Overtime pay for domestic workers is R34.79 per hour at minimum."

They add, however, that "For sole income providers, the national minimum wage is usually not sufficient to meet a family’s basic needs. According to Statistics South Africa, the food poverty line, also known as the "extreme" poverty line, is R624 per person per month. A domestic worker earning the minimum wage, just over R4 000 per month, supporting a family of four, would have to spend more than 50% of her salary on meeting the family’s basic needs; less than R2 500 would have to cover non-food household costs like rent, water, electricity, transport, education and others. In situations like these, food needs often must be sacrificed in order to meet other requirements, which are still not adequately met."

Read the full op-ed here.


[NEWSLETTER] SERI's first newsletter for 2022 is out (23 May 2021).

Newsletter May2022


This is SERI’s first newsletter for 2022. In it we present a few highlights from our work since our last newsletter in December 2021. In this period, we launched our first report in the Evictions Research Series and produced a new series of factsheets for employers of domestic workers. We successfully appealed Rhodes University’s conviction and sanction of permanent exclusion against Ms Dyantyi and attained two orders affirming the right to protest. We also advanced our advocacy work in this period, including two respective popular education workshops on evictions and claiming for workplace injury compensation. 


Access the full newsletter here

[JOB OPPORTUNITY] SERI is looking for two candidate attorneys to join our team (19 May 2022).

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) Law Clinic wishes to fill up to two vacancies for candidate attorneys (CAs). 

These vacancies will arise on or after 1 January 2023. 

The requirements for the positions are as follows – 


  • LLB Degree. 
  • Interest in and, some prior engagement with, human rights law or litigation. 


  • Interest in, and experience of, research and publication. 
  • Fluency in any of South Africa’s indigenous languages. 

SERI wishes to contribute to the development of a new generation of human rights lawyers at the national and international level. Accordingly, the positions carry with them significant opportunities for travel and continuing professional training and development. The successful candidate will also join the Bertha Justice Fellowship Programme. You can learn more about that programme on http://berthafoundation.org/lawyers 

If you are interested in either of these posts, please send a CV, together with a covering letter to Princess Nkuna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

In your letter, provide a detailed explanation of why you are interested in working for SERI, and what qualities and experience you would bring to the post. 

Generalised covering letters, which do not engage with SERI’s activities and purpose, will not be considered. 

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 30 June 2022. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted, and will be expected to make themselves available for interview in July or August 2022. 

  • View the full advertisement here.