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.
The night before David Mashaba (64) needs to go for his monthly checkup and collect his medication at the Gugulethu Clinic, he sets his alarm to 4am in order to get to the City-run clinic by 5.30.
Even though the clinic only opens at 7, there is already a long queue of people lined up before sunrise in the hope that, by being among the first in line, they’ll get out by 3pm, indicative of the achingly slow administrative and medical processes due to the high number of patients and low number of staff at the clinic.
An outsourced company has been failing careworkers in Gauteng.
After protesting for three months against their employment being outsourced by the Gauteng Department of Health, community health care workers including those in Alexandra said they have given up the fight.
They eventually decided to sign up with the outsourced company, Smart Purse, because they were locked out and not allowed to work.
In a country that has the biggest divide between public and private healthcare, community careworkers are not recognized as employees and do not enjoy labour rights and the protection of SA’s labour laws.
In a gloomy room in a cinder block RDP house so cramped there is barely enough space to move his wheelchair, Masixole Sosikela, 29, looks as if he is part of the furniture.
Sosikela lost the use of his legs in a car accident three years ago and has since been confined to the small house he shares with his mother and young brother. With his mother at work and his brother at school, he spends his days alone in the house in BM Section, Greenpoint, Khayelitsha. His only daytime visitor is home community health worker, Nikezwa Bara, who comes to see him three times a week. She spends about an hour with him, washing and dressing his bedsores, emptying his catheter and changing his linen. Bara also prepares him something to eat in the kitchen and wheels him outside to enjoy a bit of sunshine.
Bara is one of 106 community health workers (CHWs) in Khayelitsha who offer essential health and social services to over 1,000 patients who are bed-ridden or chronically or terminally ill. For these patients, the CHWs are a lifeline of care and company.
The recent High Court judgement certifying mineworkers suffering from silicosis and TB as a class has been welcomed by mining unions, jurists and mine workers.
The South Gauteng High Court ruled against 29 respondent gold mining companies allowing a class action suit by thousands of workers suffering from the fatal lung disease, silicosis and co-related tuberculosis.
Hate crimes are not yet recognized as unique crimes under South African law and there are no reliable figures about the extent of the problem in the country. Although South Africa is one of the few countries that recognises same-sex marriages, hate crimes are still prevalent.
Recent studies show that homophobia is still a major problem. A 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found that up to 61 per cent of South Africans believe society should not accept homosexuality.
The Department of Basic Education has reported that there were 20,000 learner pregnancies in 2014. The highest number of pregnancies was in Gauteng with over 5,000 and the Eastern Cape at over 3,000. According to the list of schools with high pregnancy rates, Jabulile Secondary in Orange Farm had 32 learners, Botebo-Tsebo in Sebokeng (Unit 14) 48 learners and Esokwazi in Unit 8 in Sebokeng had 51 cases of pregnancy.