Suzanne van Niekerk, an unemployed domestic worker residing in Clanwilliam, decided to seek work in Cape Town. She was introduced to the owner of a domestic worker agency who persuaded her to move to Cape Town for a job. Mr Jan Swanepoel, the owner of said agency, promised Suzanne a well-paid job as a domestic worker in the affluent suburb of Camps Bay, Cape Town. He paid her transport costs of R300.00 to Cape Town and promised her a salary of R2500.00, per month, free accommodation and food. He said he would issue her with a contract of employment, pay slip and register her with the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Jan did not keep any of his promises even after Suzanne confronted him on several occasions to request same. In fact, she was paid below the minimum wage required for a domestic worker, was not registered for Unemployment Insurance Fund, did not get overtime nor paid sick leave and her relocation cost to Cape Town was deducted from her salary. She had to pay for accommodation and was not given food as promised. She had no alternative but to continue working so that she could support her family in Clanwilliam.
After a period of time, Suzanne lodged a complaint against her employer and Jan Swanepoel, jointly and severally, with a Labour Inspector who was employed by the Department of Labour. Initially the Labour Inspector spoke to the employee and Jan Swanepoel in an endeavour to resolve the above mentioned breaches in the law. Neither the employee nor Jan were willing to sign a written undertaking to comply with the breaches. The Labour Inspector had no option but to issue a compliance order to force both the employer and Jan Swanepoel to comply within a stipulated time period. Both the employer and Jan Swanepoel ignored the compliance order and the matter was referred to the Labour Court. The judge made an order directing that they comply with all the requirements as instructed by the Labour Inspector. The parties eventually acceded to the Labour Court’s order.
Suzanne’s monthly salary was increased in accordance with the minimum wage, she received all short payments and non-payments. She was registered for UIF benefits and all arrears payments were paid to the fund. She received a contract of employment, payslips and all other benefits prescribed in terms of the Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector.
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