I was surprised to learn that newly elected Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi praised her predecessor S'dumo Dlamini for what she termed progressive changes to the labour legislation regarding maternity leave.
Frankly, the changes do not go far enough and Cosatu, at its recent national congress, should have agitated for further amendments to the law that will force all companies to pay 100% maternity benefits to pregnant women. The status currently is that companies are not obliged to and, as a result, many women are failed by the system.
Companies are under no legal obligation to pay employees during maternity leave; mothers must instead claim maternity benefits through the department of labour.
However, there is a cold reality of claiming through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF): the amount mothers receive may be less than a fraction of their earnings. It is an amount that is not insufficient considering the country's daunting economic trajectory.
And although the amendment to the labour law bill increases maternity leave benefit up to 66%, the percentage remains meagre, even if it is up from the current 58%. It is meagre because the amount a mother can receive is cut drastically from her regular pay.