‘Pets are family, domestic workers are employees’ – News24 users respond to Malema

2015-11-27 13:06
Julius Malema. (Lise Du Buisson)

Julius Malema. (Lise Du Buisson)

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Johannesburg - News24 users on Friday expressed their views as to why some people may have medical insurance for their animals but not for their domestic workers.

This after Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema told the Oxford Union at Oxford University in the UK that rich South Africans took better care of their animals than they did of their domestic workers.

"The dogs of rich people in South Africa have got medical aid but their domestic workers, and the university workers, and the farm workers, the petrol attendants, the security guards, do not have medical aid," Malema said.

 - Read more: In SA, pets have medical aid, not workers - Malema at Oxford

‘Pets are family’

One user, Natalie Crous said pets had a closer relationship with the employers than the domestic workers.

"Pets are family, domestic workers are employees. There is a vast difference," she said.

Another reader, Matt Harrison said: "In SA medical aid costs R189 for a dog, for a person it's R2500. If I could afford it for my domestic worker, I would pay her medical aid."

Francois de Lange said it was all about loyalties.

"...Reality is, people care for their pets and animals in general because: Both parties respect each other. Pets do not just strike when they are unhappy, they are loyal. They do not steal from their owners. Both parties they have learned to live in harmony. Why would owners then not take care of their pets?"

Carolyn Weidner said it was all a matter of prerogatives and affordability.

"I do believe in a fair and decent wage but no casual employees at any company get medical aid either. If they make it compulsory for people to give their domestics med aid there will end up being a whole lot more unemployed domestic workers than there are already because many people cannot afford med aid for themselves, (my pensioner parents for example), never mind their domestics," she said.

She called on the ruling party to deliver on its promises of good free healthcare through the National Health Service.

No free aid for pets

Another reader, Ivan Ingram said: "In SA, pets cannot be taken for free medical attention at Provincial Hospitals/Clinics."

According to the Johannesburg SPCA website, its veterinary hospital provided subsidised treatment for animals whose owners could not afford the service of private vets.

This also applied for several animal welfare facilities around the country.

News24 sought quotations for some of the cheapest medical insurances for animals.

- Read more: How much do you pay your domestic worker? News24 users have their say

What are the prices?

According to an online search, one of the cheapest covers available for a dog was around R120.

This ensured that the animal had cover of around R7 000 per year.

News24 also checked how much it would cost for a domestic worker to get basic medical aid which would include hospital cover and funds for visits to a general practitioner. 

One of the cheapest quotes received was one for R1 100 monthly.

While some users commented that Malema's claims were a sad reality, several of the News24 users said they did not have medical aid cover for their pets.

Another reader said Malema's expectations were unrealistic.

"...The average middle class earner does not have the financial means to fund their employees cover. It is unreasonable to expect private citizens to take out cover for employees, whatever work they may do. Petrol attendants? That's a high risk environment where they're always at risk. As [a] four person family with a domestic worker? Not the same," said Micheal Young.

One user, however, said she did have medical aid for her domestic worker.

‘What’s the use?’

"I pay medical aid for my domestic worker but she still goes to clinics rather. In the 3 years she only went to get subscription glasses once and 1 visit to the doctor," said Amanda Brown.

"She has high blood pressure and needs medication monthly which the medical aid covers but she rather goes to the clinics. What's the use?" she wrote.

One user, Juanri van der Walt, however said she agreed with Malema.

"There are a lot of work places that don't give medical aid and you don't pay so much to buy medical aid. It is unfair for a domestic worker for example not to have one. They are also just people. You wouldn't like to go to a hospital that [is in] a no go zone.

“I agree medical aids must be given to all people from farm workers to company workers. In life you can't be without medical aid," she said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  animals  |  health

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