ConCourtBusinessLive reports that the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) justices have criticised orders by a lower court relating to the constitutional validity of the exclusion of domestic workers employed in private households from the definition of “employee” in the 1993 Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (Coida) as “drastic” and scant on detail.  

They also questioned whether the government could afford to pay retrospective claims by domestic workers who were injured or died at work.  On Tuesday, the ConCourt heard an application for confirmation of orders delivered by the Pretoria High Court in May 2019 and in October 2019.  In May, the High Court had declared the provision in Coida excluding domestic workers from coverage as unconstitutional.  In October, the same court further ruled that the declaration of invalidity must be applied “retrospectively” to provide relief to domestic workers who were injured or died at work before the granting of the order.  On Tuesday, the justices locked horns with the legal representatives of the domestic workers who had brought the case, while taking potshots at the orders granted by the Pretoria High Court.  At issue was whether the ConCourt’s declaratory order should be retrospective and whether the state’s Compensation Fund could afford that.  The top court also wanted to make sure the process was foolproof.  Justice Zukisa Tshiqi described the lower court order as “drastic”.  Judgment was reserved.

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