Domestic workers on the brink of going 2 months with no wages
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CAPE TOWN – Many domestic workers across South Africa will have soon endured two months without earning a wage, as a consequence of restrictions stemming from the extended nationwide lockdown.
Domestic workers, who are typically the sole providers for their families, face the worsening prospect of an impoverished existence and small hope of jobs to return to, even after current lockdown levels are eased.
SweepSouth has said that since the government implemented restrictions on all but essential workers on March 26, the online cleaning platform has urged businesses and households across the country to continue paying their furloughed domestic workers, in order for them to attain basic standards of living.
SweepSouth’s mission is to bring technology to the domestic services industry and take the hassle out of booking a domestic cleaner. SweepSouth aims to revolutionise the domestic services industry and give flexible work opportunities at great rates to the people who do domestic cleaning in South Africa.
SweepSouth is South Africa’s most convenient way to get home cleaning and other home services and products. Users can book and get connected to SweepStars on the SweepSouth app or website in seconds.
SweepSouth launched the Covid-19 SweepStar Fund on April 6, to provide assistance for active domestic workers registered on its site. SweepSouth now calls upon financially able South Africans to pledge additional support, where possible, in order to extend the fund’s activities for a further six weeks. Without additional backing, SweepSouth might be forced to halve the current payment amounts disbursed to SweepStars, in order to prolong the vital assistance the fund is providing to many of the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
SweepSouth, the online cleaning platform connecting domestic workers with employers, established the fund in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) to provide assistance to SweepStars unable to work and earn a wage during the nationwide lockdown.
MSDF seeded the fund with a R6 million contribution, which has since been boosted by additional generous contributions by local businesses and the general public, increasing the value of the fund to R8.9 million as of the date of this release.
The company said raising the R8.9 million for the fund proved extremely challenging, but was possible due to the generosity of various donors. The distribution of the fund has enabled SweepStars to receive weekly financial top-ups of between R150 and R450 over the past six weeks.
SweepSouth co-founder and chief executive Aisha Pandor said the response by South Africans in providing support had been phenomenal, and appealed to potential donors who would be able to pledge additional support.
“SweepSouth extends its most heartfelt thanks to those who have contributed to the support of domestic workers across the country, as well as to those who have provided support for the SweepStar fund. Our aim of raising R12 million is a principal focus but in order to meet this target and contribute to SweepStars' living costs for an additional six weeks, we appeal to businesses and the public for further assistance.
“Although we aim to maintain consistent payments to SweepStars during the lockdown period, we want to avoid having to reduce weekly payout amounts. Further support by donors will reinforce the impactful contributions that are helping domestic workers, their children and families to survive during this desperate period,” she said.
Pandor said SweepSouth already had conversations underway with additional potential financial partners to buoy the SweepStar Fund further, but that additional buy-in from the general public was crucial.