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Domestic Workers Plead For Financial Assistance During Lockdown

Domestic workers are pleading for financial help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, saying that the national lockdown has had a devastating impact on their earnings.

The South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU) called on government to make some money from the Solidarity Fund available to its members so they could provide for their families.

Home cleaning online platform SweepSouth raised more than R7 million from donations to help support its members. SweepSouth plans to support its members for three months through crowdfunding and donations from its investors.

The booking service for domestic workers aimed to raise R12 million to pay workers registered on its platform between R150 and R450 every week.

SweepSouth co-founder Aisha Pandor said they had already made payments to members this week.

“Support SweepSouth staff with basic necessities over the next three months. We have already raised about R7.2 million towards that,” Pandor said.

Meanwhile, SADSAWU said it didn’t have any emergency funds and called on government to intervene.

“We have quite a big fight on our hands and we try every day to see how we can get help for the domestic sector. Currently, we are receiving calls from domestic workers complaining about not having money and food,” said the union’s general secretary Myrtle Witbooi.

There were concerns that it would take domestic workers a while to get back on their feet following the nationwide lockdown.