Skeem actress, Pebetsi Matlaila has found herself in the middle of a bitter labour dispute after her former house helper filed a case of unfair dismissal against her with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
In an Instagram video, Pebetsi explained how and why things went sour between her and her former helper.
“In the beginning she was great, particularly because she come from Polokwane so we both speak sePedi so everything is great and all, and she could also teach my daughter a little of sePedi were I can’t come to the party” she says.
After a while, she claims things began to change.
“In the beginning they will work, right? And then they will slow down, and then they won’t do certain things you expect them to do like changing your bedding every week or washing your shoes, you know? Yet you pay them a good salary” she continues.
She adds that they had a verbal agreement that the helper would be on three months’ probation, after which she would decide if she wanted to employ her for a longer term, as well as register her at the department of labour.
However, Pabetsi alleges things took a turn for the worst within a month of their agreement when the helper asked for money in advance saying that she had unsettled debts with loan sharks to the tune of R10 000.
“She said ‘please give me the money and you will deduct from my salary as I continue working for you’” Pabetsi explains in the video.
Upon feeling that she was being taken advantage of and realizing that the reasons behind her helper’s requests were becoming more exaggerated and would compromise her and her daughter’s safety, she decided to dismiss her within her probation period, with full payment.
Shortly after that she received a call from the CCMA.
“CCMA tells me that I have a case opened against because I dismissed somebody without a notice. I said but we didn’t have a contractual agreement, it was a verbal agreement, but according to CCMA a verbal is good enough as a contractual agreement,” she says in the video.
See the full video here:
Although Pabetsi’s predicament may be relatable to those who empathize and feel that her course of action was just. This is how an employer should deal with a dismissal in the case of domestic worker according to the Employers Service Organization of South Africa, particularly if one wants to avoid an escalation to the CMMA.
Read More: Why you can't just fire your domestic worker
According to Parent24, our labour law provides for only three grounds for dismal:
Misconduct: This relates to the employee’s behaviour and should be of serious nature to warrant sanction of dismissal.
Incapacity: This relates to either injury/ill health or poor work performance.
Operational requirements: When you have to retrench your domestic e.g. you can no longer afford her services, or you are relocating.