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An implementation analysis of sectoral determination seven (SD7) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of [1997] (BCEA): a case study of domestic workers in uMsunduzi Municipality.

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This study examines the issues related to the implementation of Sectoral Determination 7 (SD7). The study investigates domestic workers’ experiences of their working conditions, in order to establish the extent to which SD7 is effective in affording them labour rights, and improving their working conditions. SD7 was promulgated in 2002 by the Minister of Labour in order to regulate domestic work in the country. The promulgation of SD7 came about as a result of the shortfalls of the existing legislation such as sections 23(1) and (2) of the Constitution and the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, as well as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 being insufficient to respond to the challenges of exploitation, oppression and abuse which shape the domestic worker sector, not only in South Africa, but globally. Over the years it became apparent that there needed to be an intervention to combat the oppression and exploitation faced by domestic workers globally. Hence, in 2011 the ILO ratified Convention No. 189 which set the international standards for the regulation of domestic work internationally. Further, Recommendation 201 was passed by the ILO which aims to stipulate the guidelines for the strengthening of policies on domestic work and national law. Despite national and international policies on the regulation of domestic work being passed, previous studies have shown that these policies have not resulted in the working conditions of domestic workers improving, and them being empowered with labour rights like their counterparts in other labour sectors. This study uses implementation theory, and the implementation of regulatory policy in particular, as well as power and street-level bureaucracy to analyze the implementation challenges of SD7 of the BCEA 75 of 1997. The study used qualitative data analysis and content thematic analysis to analyze the data. The main themes which emerged from the findings were: conceptualizations of SD7, access to provisions of SD7 and the challenges experienced with the implementation of SD7. The findings of the study supported the argument that domestic workers are unable to access these rights as a result of the power imbalance between them and their employers. Further, the study found that the policy design of SD7 does not take into consideration the intricacies of the domestic worker sector, therefore SD7, for the most part, has not improved the working conditions of domestic workers. Moreover, a poor monitoring system on the part of DoL does nothing to deter non-compliance by employers.


Master of Social Science in Policy and Development Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2017.