Rallying domestics

WOMEN POWER: A woman sings as she waves a flag during the ANC provincial domestic workers rally at the Joburg City Hall. 01/03/09. Pic. Bafana Mahlangu. © Sowetan.
WOMEN POWER: A woman sings as she waves a flag during the ANC provincial domestic workers rally at the Joburg City Hall. 01/03/09. Pic. Bafana Mahlangu. © Sowetan.

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

Kate Masemola regards herself as one of the lucky few.

A domestic worker for more than 30 years, she said she was luckier than most domestic workers who worked hard for little money.

"I have worked for the same family for 31 years. They have helped me put both my children through school. I also get three weeks leave a year and two weeks during school holidays."

Masemola, 56, of Mabopane in Pretoria, earns R2500, which is almost double what domestic workers are entitled to by law, at R1341 a month.

"Many others still suffer. They are fired, often without notice, for wanting to be treated with respect," she said.

Masemola was one of thousands of domestic workers from around Gauteng who congregated at the Johannesburg City Hall on Sunday. They were ferried by buses as part of the 60 days of non-stop electioneering by the ANC Women's League. The campaign started on Saturday and runs until April 1.

The rally was attended by ANC Womens League president Angie Motshekga, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana and Joburg Mayor Amos Masondo.

Eunice Dhladhla of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union urged the domestic workers to know their rights.

"You shouldn't be content with just saying 'yes madam' to everything. You should also be able to ask 'why madam'?" Dhladhla said.

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