Domestics can claim damages retrospectively – ruling
In another victory for domestic workers, the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruled yesterday that those injured in the past while on duty will be able to claim damages.
According to a report on the IoL site, the court ruled in May this year that the exclusion of domestic workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) is unconstitutional.
Now, the court has ordered that the invalidity will be of immediate and retrospective effect.
This must still be confirmed by the Constitutional Court, which will not happen until next year.
Beneficiaries include the family of Maria Mahlangu, who drowned when she fell into her employer’s pool while she was cleaning windows. Her family was told at the time that they could not claim compensation as the dependents of domestic workers were excluded from COIDA benefits.
This week's ruling was made following an agreement between Sylvia Mahlangu, one of Mahlangu’s daughters, who was cited as the first applicant and the Minister of Labour and his department.
The department from the start did not oppose the proceedings, as it was undisputed that COIDA’s exclusion of domestic workers is unconstitutional.
COIDA was promulgated in 1993 and it remained in force for 25 years.
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