My domestic worker lives in shocking conditions

These articles were readers’ response to Carmen Williams’s article, are domestic wages fair?

I don't think it is fair for the poor women who are working under some unbearable conditions to earn such a salary. Some of they are abused, but because of financial circumstance, they need to stay. I think the department of labour should look at that issue of domestic workers and that what they are being paid is not sufficient for a living wage.


Our domestic worker works from 9 to 4 and we pay R190 a day. I wish we could pay her more. She comes to us once a week. Her employers on the other days pay her less and they refuse to give her extra for a taxi. This is shocking.

When she became ill, I asked them if we could chip in to send her to a decent doctor, none of them responded. My husband and I paid the bill. She's still ill and it’s been 2 years.  We can't keep paying for further testing and her other employers are not coming to the party. Unfortunately the government hospital can't find the problem with her and she waits months at a time to see a so-called specialist.

My domestic worker has spent her life-savings on building a small house in her homeland and I feel that she earns so little that it's our responsibility to help out with furniture and bedding, but at the same time, I'm reminded that she is not my responsibility -I can help here and there, but I can't kit out her entire home.

She works once a week for a lady here in Johannesburg. The room she stays in while there is so disgusting. The carpets are old, the cupboards are broken and the roof is leaking.  When she asks the lady about these damages, the lady says there's no money. It makes me so angry that this lady allows our domestic to live in such conditions.

When my husband and I eventually move to a bigger house, we want to look for a house with a room for her. She deserves better, she is the most fantastic lady to have working for us!


These articles were readers’ response to Carmen Williams’s article, are domestic wages fair?

Tell us what do you think about this issue. Do you employ a domestic worker? Do you think they’re treated fairly? Do you know anyone who is a domestic worker and has been treated badly? Talk to us.

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