Lydia Gwala reached an agreement with her former employers in Ernest Road, Rylands.
Lydia Gwala reached an agreement with her former employers in Ernest Road, Rylands.

Maid allegedly held prisoner in Rylands home awarded R42 500 payout

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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A maid, who claimed she was mistreated and held prisoner at her employers’ house without pay for 10 months, has been awarded a R42 500 settlement.

The Department of Labour reached a settlement between domestic worker Lydia Gwala, 60, and her Rylands bosses last week.

The settlement was paid in cash on 17 March and the employers were also ordered to sign an agreement to pay her UIF.

On Friday, Spokesperson for the Department of Labour Candice van Reenen confirmed: “Through the intervention of the labour inspector, the employee and employer reached a settlement.

“The inspector was satisfied with the agreement and has emphasised that both employees and employers should be educated on labour legislation that could lead to self-regulation and a stable labour market.

In February, Lydia’s story sparked outrage.


She told the Daily Voice she had opened a case of common assault against her bosses in Ernest Road, Rylands.

She said she had been working for the family since April 2019 and claimed she was not allowed to leave the residence, even to visit a local tuck shop.

She said she was fed only bread and black coffee twice a day and had lost over 20 kilograms.

After secretly contacting her brother, Lydia was rescued by police who were forced to cut the locks of the property’s gates open using a crowbar.

In 2010, the Daily Voice previously reported that domestic workers, who were employed at the same residence, claimed they were being mistreated and underpaid.

On Friday, Lydia’s family did not respond to the Daily Voice.

Meanwhile, Faranaaz Gafoor of the Economic Freedom Fighters visited Athlone SAPS on Friday to ask why the case of common assault had not been escalated to the courts and why no arrests for kidnapping have been made.

“We just came from Athlone Police Station and spoke to the Station Commander,” she says.

“He said the case is still under investigation and that there is a second charge relating to an Older Persons Act.

Previously, Athlone SAPS Commander, Colonel Mark Adonis, told Daily Voice the case was still under investigation.

Camoordien Moolatjie, who is a neighbour of the employers, and advocates for domestic workers’ rights, says he is relieved but dissatisfied: “We are happy that they have paid.

“This is also because of the pressure of the Daily Voice and the EFF and we are not happy with the criminal charges because they must be charged with kidnapping.”

Daily Voice

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