It’s week one of the Life Esidimeni Arbitration-Alternative Dispute Resolution hearing, headed by the former ConCourt Deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke.
After years of voluntary service to the Department of Health, community health care-workers in Gauteng want to be employed permanently by the Department. They felt betrayed when their employer reneged on the decision to absorb them fully when they terminated their services with non-governmental organisations that they volunteered for.
Nokhaya earns a R1,190 stipend which she does not receive every month. When her stipend is not paid, she manages to continue work anyway. In those parched months her family relies on a R350 child support grant.
Empilisweni Centre, mainly funded by National Lottery, helps the community of Ndevana and surrounding areas. It has 200 volunteers who do door-to-door visits to needy families. They clean houses for elderly people, assist orphans and help patients with chronic conditions and those who struggle to travel either due to lack of finance or sickness.
The ongoing political motivated killings in Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi has claimed many lives and left families in disarray. Children are among the ones most affected by the violence.
Care workers are classified by their employers as volunteers and not employees. As such, the proposed minimum wage does not cover them. They get paid less than R2,000 a month. If they fall pregnant, women are forced to quit their jobs or take unpaid leave.
The recent debate on the decriminalisation of sex work, organised by Mail and Guardian and the South African National Aids Council (SANAC), provided no solution but a screaming match between those supporting it and those against.