SA: Forum appeals to government to grant special permits to Zimbabwean domestic workers

SA: Forum appeals to government to grant special permits to Zimbabwean domestic workers

By The Citizen

SOUTH AFRICA: The Africa Diaspora Forum (ADF) is calling on the South African government to grant special permits to Zimbabwean domestic workers.

The forum, which represents the interests of foreigners in South Africa, said there are thousands of Zimbabwean domestic workers who are living or working for South African families.

According to the forum, the problem is that most of these domestic workers are undocumented and have to sneak in and out of the country when they go back home to Zimbabwe for holidays.

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“In the main undocumented migrants are employed by the South African middle class. It’s important that we understand the need for granting special permits to domestic workers,” said ADF spokesperson Ngqabutho Mabhena said.

Zimbabwean domestic workers are cheaper

Mabhena said there was a need for Zimbabwean domestic workers in South Africa as the middle class was struggling and found it cheaper to employ undocumented migrants to help around the house.

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He said a South African domestic worker would ask for at least R4 000.

“What does the South African family do, they employ an undocumented domestic worker and pays them R1 500 to R3 000. In most cases they will offer accommodation to this worker,” Mabhena said.

Despite this, Mabhena said, these foreign workers suffered abuse and exploitation from their employers because they are not documented.

“They get abused sometimes they do not get an off day when they are around the house on Sunday. They can be asked to help out, sometimes they are told what time to be home on weekends,” he said.

Mabhena said some of the people that were protesting against the presence of Zimbabweans in the country also used Zimbabwean domestic workers in their homes. He said it was obvious that the Zimbabwean question will be a hot potato for the ANC and other political parties in the upcoming elections.

“Migration is getting hot as we approach the elections and it is becoming a toping election topic, in the main they are saying undocumented migrants are a problem,” he said.