mobile menu mobile search

This is how many domestic workers in South Africa have lost their jobs in 2016

This is how many domestic workers in South Africa have lost their jobs in 2016

South African households are under tremendous financial pressure, having to cut spending costs amid rising food price inflation, fuel and electricity price hikes, and job uncertainty.

South Africa’s high unemployment rate has been ranked as the worst in the world, having climbed to a high of 26.7% in the first quarter of 2016, according to Stats SA.

The stats body showed that among the worst to be hit, were domestic workers, with as many as 45,000 losing their job in the first quarter, to 984,000 employees, from 1.029 million in the prior quarter.

Year on year data showed that 24,000 domestic workers lost their jobs, which will come as a major blow to many communities where the salary of domestic workers is often the lifeblood of many households.

According to Stats SA, domestic workers make up as much as 7.8% of the black South African workforce.

In December 2015, the department of labour announced a minimum wage increase for domestic workers from approximately R2,065 to over R2,230.

A recent survey conducted by Old Mutual found that 61% of households across all income groups said that they would fire their domestic worker to cut monthly costs as prices continue to climb.

More on South Africa

How many South Africans are living paycheck to paycheck

This is what stressed-out South Africans are willing to sacrifice to cut costs

Debt shock for South Africans as tough economy bites

One graph shows how bad South Africa’s consumer debt is


BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
Join the Conversation
  • James Dean

    The only way to create jobs now is for government to allow people to work for peanuts just like China.

    • Zaheer

      The shocking this is – alot of people pay Vavi and gang good money – but fail to realise – when Vavi says : Strike for 5 days – Vavi is going home to a fat steak and they go hungry – but still fail to see it.

      The latest I heard was a double digit wage demand. At times its hard to disagree with that kinda demand. But getting more wages is not fixing the problem.
      All that will happen is we carry more cash n the banks make the money.

      • Excellence in Africa???

        These people lost their jobs since the wage increase.

    • overit

      Most people don’t have the education that justifies more than peanut pay. Sad but true.

      • ian shaw

        Actually, these people you might see holding signs of their speciality like painting, gardening, plumbing, etc. are skilled but tend to ask for too much money.

        • overit

          That’s what I said. They’re doing menial work, they deserve menial pay.

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    It is sad to see that most people will be shocked at this, because they don’t realise that this whole country is an ecosystem.

    We need some serious focus on quality education to lift this country out of the whole the ANC has been digging for it.

    • NosySnoopy

      I agree that education is important, but what use is education without a job. We need industry that will create jobs and with it money that will improve living standard and also allow for education.

      • Excellence in Africa???

        You need an education to create industry! Your view says black must leech off white eternally.

        • TellMe

          wtf you on about? where the hell did he say that?

          • Excellence in Africa???

            Relax pal.
            How do you expect to create a bigger economy without suitably qualified black people?
            Without a proper education, you will be extremely lucky to start and maintain a successful company that can employ people.

            Where’s this black economy today? It’s running after AA positions in white owned and created companies instead of starting their own. That dear sir, is leeching!

          • TellMe

            point taken 🙂

          • NosySnoopy

            Why make it about race? There should be more qualified people in South Africa, not only black people.
            But what is the point of having more educated people and they don’t have anywhere to work? Who is going to pay for that education anyway or according to your logic, will they just leech of the white tax payers?

            Some of the people I employ have an education, but can’t find a job. They have matric or are ex-accountants or ex-heavy engineering people. But thanks to the bad economy and the downturn in industry they lost those jobs. Now they have to do something else that pays a lot less. And they contribute less to the economy in the form of tax which negatively impacts the people who benefit from tax money the most.

          • Excellence in Africa???

            Because it’s race that denies white it’s full potential, and holds black back from realising it’s potential!

            Last time I checked there were no other race than black going to school under a tree? Last time I checked, not one of the 60% unqualified teachers at foundation phase taught anyone but black children!

            How would you suggest we grow the economy? Do you want whites to do it so that AA can carry on? Or should black people not be creating their own wealth and jobs? How many white people do you think there are?

            You haven’t read my reply again have you? You should do that if it makes you emotional, cause you’ve completely missed my message.

            Black needs to stand up and be counted! Create their own wealth and grow the economy. The status quo is leeching off white business, however you want to package it!

            Education comes from everyone’s taxes and I wasn’t referring to that in any case.

            You’ve summed up my argument perfectly in your closing statement. If they were experienced enough, why didn’t they give it a go on their own?

          • ian shaw

            To start on their own, without business know-how and starting capital? Yes, business education would be a bonus, but mentoring, guidance and gaining experience in the hard way is what is needed.

          • Excellence in Africa???

            I’m not really talking about graduates at any level without experience. But someone thats ridden the AA wave, made a fortune and has the know how and connections to start his own operation. There must be millions of these people. Yet they sit?

            I fully agree about the school of hard knocks, but that experience only comes once you’ve taken that first leap of faith, which is in yourself, and what also seems to be the black economies biggest stumbling block.

      • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

        Education is the root problem. The moment you solve the education problem and specifically the female education then you end up with better raised kids as well as better family planning. The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough work. The real problem is that we have too many people and then education will have a direct impact on that.

        • NosySnoopy

          And that is how we end up with people wanting to go study but don’t have the money for that. You cannot expect the 10% who pay tax to support the other 90%. If we can shift that percentage to a 60%-40% there will be money for better schooling, like in a model C school where the parents contribute more financially, as well as having the money to pay for transport if needed. It will also help with better funding for tertiary education.
          At this moment we have people who have a skill or an education that cannot find a job, according to your reasoning, what will happen to them with more education?

          • TellMe

            I know of at least R6 Billion that could be used for education, right now… SABC losses, SAA Losses, Pimp Plane for JZ etc…

            The money is there, it’s just not being used for it.

          • you real are missing a point while indirectly agreeing Ultimateninja .the reason we don’t have industries or more companies is also linked to the fact that we have 90% uneducated society depending on the 10% to create jobs , start businesses and employ them. also speak of model c school which means you agree with the fact that the education in government schools need fixing. once education is fixed we will have more intellect stand a better chance of having industralist , SME entrepreneurs and creat more jobs while also bringing up our kids with better attitude and teaching them well to be responsible more so do family planning than just bringing kids we can not afford on this earth in hopes of social grants …..education is vital we can not run away from that. anyway educated today stands a better chance of being employed than an uneducated person think about it.

          • NosySnoopy

            I understand your view I support education at the lower level, but we have engineers that can’t find jobs because the Sasol’s, Group 5’s, Eskom’s, Mining, Mittals, etc. have cut back and don’t have any jobs for them.

            I fully agree with you that ‘educated today stands a better chance of being employed than an uneducated person’. But where will they be employed if there aren’t any jobs.

            Open a new mine and then get the miners. You want to train miners without there being a mine.

            SME’s are great and should also be expanded, but they relay a lot on industry. The armature winders, the reconditioning agents, the scaffold suppliers, etc. But if there is no industry they don’t have enough work. My point about industry is that they employee 5000-30000 people long term, not 5-1000 in a SME. Big difference there.

          • the whole idea of being educated is not to seek employment rather to creat opportunities for uneducated. why don’t these graduate actual start their own businesses with the knowledge they have aquired ? why I are the wanting some one to start and employ them ? agree with you there should be a lots of opportunities for employment but for that to happen we need also a lots of us who will date the devil and take the leap of faith start businesses small or big , hiring 1-1000 or 1000 – 10 000 it does not matter what matters start something so that there are opportunities. our education system seeks to tell us that we study and wait to be employed rather than that we study and be inventors and creators of new businesses that will seek and take opportunities that are there out on the market. education is vital I will say this again proper education not the SA eduction that is based on getting a job instead of creating a job.

          • v_3

            You ignore that the main need for decent education is pre-school and school. Only a tiny fraction of the workforce receive tertiary education, which is the most expensive and least democratic of educations.

            Fixing the school drop-out rate, pass rate and matric quality will go a long way towards fixing unemployment and productivity.

            Or course, doing so will alienate the SADTU (a major ZANC support base) and there is the risk that that educated voters will see through the ZANC, hence their willingness to leave the lumpen masses in verwoerdian dystopia.

          • NosySnoopy

            Don’t misinterpret my point. I fully understand and support the improvement of education at the lower levels.
            The essence of my point it:
            1) You cannot train professionals (Engineers/Artisans/Doctors/IT consultants/Accountants/etc.) and they don’t have a job after graduating. We have those people who don’t have jobs now already.
            2) Industry must grow. The companies that employ 5000-30000 people must grow. Then there will be jobs that the people can go study for.
            3) To improve industry needs government involvement.
            4) To improve industry does not happen overnight, so you won’t sit with a lot of jobs and no people to do it. There will be time to train and educate people before they are ready to be employed.
            5) If industry is there the smaller engineering companies, fish and chips shops and IT companies will have an infrastructure to work with and support. So there will be room for entrepreneurship.
            6) You can’t have an engineering company if you don’t have a customer. In most cases the customer is the industries.

            What happened to the people who worked at Highveld Steel for example? And the smaller business that supported HS.

            It is an ecosystem that require industry (a big amount of long term jobs) that will save the economy and the country.

      • ian shaw

        Nosy: I have said this many times that our economy is far too small to absorb even well-educated young people who are looking for jobs.

    • Luna Moon

      digging a “whole” ??

      • Znh

        Digging the whole hole

    • Blapartheid Zulu

      And yet unions demand R8000 for domestic workers? They will all get fired

  • Willow

    We are one of the few countries in the world, where domestic workers are employed, and many are still employed out of sympathy, not necessity. It is sad that these ladies are still the main breadwinners, in a society where there has been such growth in the middle income group. Very little is available to assist them, should they be retrenched. A few months of UIF benefits, and then what?

    • They can always resort to crime.

    • NosySnoopy

      I think the biggest point here is that they are the main and sometimes only breadwinners. This has a huge negative effect on the children and adults of the future.

      • Willow

        And keep getting laden with grandchildren to care for, on their small wages!

        • Gatvol

          @Willow, are you implying that all black people simply keep having children they themselves can’t care for?? Careful…

          • Excellence in Africa???

            I’ll say it. Now you prove otherwise?

            Edit: It can never be all Gatvol. If one person bucks the trend, then it’s not all.

          • Willow

            Please quote my exact words?

          • ian shaw

            Well, isn’t this true? Kids begging on the street often say that their parents chased them away or mistreated them, so that they an away. I see on TV many examples where rural people are still having ten children.

          • Gail Rieck

            I read an article in the News24 yesterday, where a number of women were interviewed and confessed that they kept on having babies in order to get the “free child grants” from the government. No thought for the fact that each new baby brought into the world is and extra mouth to feed, clothe and educate. So yes, unfortunately there are plenty of unwed females out there just producing babies for the child grants…..NOT my take, but a confession from the women themselves..

          • really wow …….read again

    • Konstabel Koekemoer

      Agreed, we also kep the lady working for us only because we know she will not easily find another job, especially at her age. But once she retires we will not replace her as we in ant case do much of the housekeeping ourselves already.

  • Scienide

    And then where we are paying our domestic more than minimum wages, she all of a sudden has been giving us attitude.
    She could become a statistic…

    • Gatvol

      Ours does that too sometimes… They tend to think they are irreplaceable…those who don’t value their jobs

    • Excellence in Africa???

      Just go through the motions correctly. Insubordination is a written warning offence. Three strikes and out.

  • Dylan Kuchiki Clarke

    You milk the last penny from the middle class, well now you have what you want, more money to steel and less jobs for your voters.

    • Albert

      Mind your English grammar

  • hairyback

    Unfortunately it’s just becoming too much of a pain. Someone I know had to pay R50,000 to their domestic after she didn’t turn up for work for 3 months, and they told her not to bother coming back. We’re not businesses, we can’t afford to get labor lawyers involved, sign up contracts, register for who knows what. It’s easier just to clean your own damn house.

    • Albert

      If you fire them unlawfully they have to go to manpower and ccma you will fill the heat

      • Hacksack

        The will have to prove employment and not just an adhoc relationship.

    • overit

      “it’s just becoming too much of a pain”

      Our gardener decided we weren’t paying him enough and he wanted a 33% increase. This for sweeping some leaves up, cutting the grass, and occasionally deweeding. I fired him and now I do the work myself. I save money, and I get some much needed exercise in. I should have done this years ago.

      • NosySnoopy

        Sad, but true. Most of the time it is sympathy jobs. Like I have said many times in the past, some of these people would rather sit at the corner looking for a job that doing a job for a wage they don’t think is fair, but it might be more than they are worth.

      • ian shaw

        I get a gardener from time to, time and found that the best policy is to get a new one each time. Sure, I would like to call the same one every time, but experience has shown that after doing a passable job the first time, the second time they just do much less and become more demanding. It does not seem to matter that I pay them decently, give them, a good lunch, with a half-hour lunch time, and their work shift is only 5 hours long.

    • Hacksack

      I’m a lawyer and would have settled her claim and my account for only R 25000

    • ian shaw

      In most western countries, this is the norm. With so many labour-saving devices, it is not a difficult task.

  • Zaheer

    Its hard not to feel sad for these workers, but i guess even stupidity has a price. You have to worry where you put the X

    Apartheid never effected my life. I was 13 when it ended. I never felt any effect of it. But i do recall when that government put the petrol price up by 30 cents – taxi operators blocked the hiway. It was government law that every school child – rich or poor had to eat the slice of bread and have milo at school – sponsored by Nestle.

    Our rand was 2 to 1 to the dollar.

    It now begs the question in 2016
    We got freedom – very good – at what price ??

    Dont get me wrong – aparheid is/was an inhuman system.
    But so is letting the people who you trusted – allowing them 2 suffer/starve

    • NosySnoopy

      This is also something I have said in the past. Apartheid was horrible, but it was not all bad. There was good in there for everyone, like a working economy that created jobs and education. Even unequal education is still better than no education.

  • Gatvol

    The government needs to create more jobs. They also need to foster entrepreneurial growth as that’s where most jobs can come from..and I’m not talking of a 3 month tender that only offers jobs short term only to leave people suffering again.

    • djza

      Government cannot create jobs, they can create an environment which allows entrepeneurs to create jobs.

      • Gatvol

        We are saying the same thing

    • Hans von Pistov

      Government cannot create productive jobs. The only jobs they create are temporary and mostly bureaucratic.

      Who creates jobs is private sector. All Government can do is build an environment where private sector thrives and the jobs will come.

      But this is too complex to grasp for the communist infiltrated ANC and its imbecilic potentates and cadres.

  • EnjoyTheDecline

    I wonder how they compile these stats. Do they distinguish between domestics in full-time employment with one employer and chars who work for different employers?

  • Hacksack

    As soon as AI and robotics have reached a level where these menial jobs – maid, gardener, miner, garbage collector… can be replaced by a onetime purchase, these jobs will be gone forever.

    Imagine an AI robot that is your butler, maid, gardener, bar tender, masseuse, security guard… never fails to do your bidding, is never on a go slow, never calls in sick and does not ask for any payment other than a chance to plug in it’s charger.

    Miners will be replaced by robots that can mine far deeper than any human, under toxic conditions 24/7. Safety standards will not need to be nearly as stringent, thus increasing profit for the mines and shareholders.

    Robot servants will be the next massive boom in the world economy, but also the extinction of the menial employee.

    • ian shaw

      Especially if massage is included…

  • Roy Martin

    People are scared to employ domestics due to the high crime rate another good story from the ZANC

    • ian shaw

      “Inside jobs”?

  • newsens

    I have no doubt that most jobs which have been lost “officially” have been taken by illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi etc with faked credentials.

    But of course, it’s “xenophobic” to even mention this.

  • Jaco Rautenbach

    You all forget that stats SA has a master chef cooking the stats. Unemployment is far worse than the given 26.7%, just as inflation is closer to 20% than the given 6% !

  • Marius Lubbe

    The current labour legislation is keeping me from employing at least five extra people in my business, and a domestic. Having been the victim of the CCMA, every single time even though we were never the guilty party, has cured me for ever. They start off by assuming the employer must be the guilty party and after that tries to extract the maximum settlement from you.

  • disqus_YXczy1K8mI

    well done for attending to the needs of the people you f*&&%&*king ANC scumbag criminals…

  • JJ

    The sad point is that I have seen comments on this forum where someone would say something stupid like: “White people are too useless to clean after themselves”

    Very few households can afford to survive in South Africa without both the husband and wife working.

    I will never fire my domestic help for the simple reason that I need her and she needs me. My wife and I work very hard to survive in an extremely difficult economic environment. So does my domestic help.

    I hate the fact that a party like the EFF dresses their members as domestic and garden workers as if they are saying that these jobs are less important and that they need to “stand up” for them.

    The reason why domestic and garden help get paid less than corporate employees is because they are paid out of the pockets of these people. I know it isn’t great but at least it is something.

    Or am I missing something?

  • bookworm

    Get rid of corruption and nepotism, enforce proper protocols for jobs, tenders, etc. and improve education. Tighten structures around hirings, including multi-million rand golden handshakes. What kind of a message do these kinds of deals send to those who have worked hard for years and been fleeced by their govt. which goes and pays off someone who should never have had a certain job in the first place?

  • They_say

    And they keep on voting anc, who got us in this mess

  • #trollsmustfall

    Thanks only to the cANCer, its nonexistent economic strategy and its labour regulation that panders to that unelected power, the Marxist SACP. The Gucci-wearing, Mercedes-driving, Johnny Walker-drinking comrades.

    One day the average voter will realise having something is better than nothing. And the cANCer has given them exactly that – nothing.

    And Malenema says “produce more babies”. Ok then…..

  • johnramsunder

    Who is to blame for the massive unemployment of domestics in this country?. It is none other than the Government because they set a high figure for the minimum wages to be paid to the black domestics. The anc thought they were too clever and smart but never released that many and thousands would be out of a job. This same principle applies when the unions demand a minimum wage for its employees. Eventually many companies, businesses, mines etc is closing down. Think hard anc before making any rational decision. Good luck.

  • Erlo Muhl

    Nobody can afford to pay someone he can’t afford. So a forceful minimum wage is the shortest road to doom for both, the employee and the employer.

  • shame man one day kuzolunga

  • LegallySpeaking

    A domestic worker is a luxury for people who are too lazy to clean themselves. When the crunch comes, their jobs go. Unless government implements some sort of tax reduction for domestic worker employers, this trend will continue. A tax reduction is not unreasonable because you assist government in providing jobs to unskilled workers, who because of their jobs, are able to be economically active and contribute to the GDP.

  • Seachercam2001

    who the hell has money for a domestic workers…when all ur money goes to zuma…and because of him food is more expensive…so who has extra money to spend on a domestic worker

Join our newest FREE BusinessTech newsletter today!
×