09/03/2017 21:47 SAST | Updated 10/03/2017 09:54 SAST

Wanted: Nice-Smelling Domestic For R2,000 A Month

Hello? Minimum Wages? Basic Respect?

A woman armed with cleaning products.
A woman armed with cleaning products.

A Plumstead family has defended its advert for a pleasantly-scented domestic worker who will be paid less than the minimum wage to work seven days a week, and who has to hand over her passport.

In the ad, posted on Gumtree and dated March 7, a Mrs Allie says she is looking for a "hardworking housemaid" for a salary of R2,000 per month.

"You're required to follow instructions and clean thoroughly and meticulously (the way I want)," the advert reads.

"You are expected to be clean and smell good and bath and change every day (and twice a day if necessary)."

Mrs Allie's husband, Abubkar Allie told News24 on Thursday there was nothing wrong with stipulating what they required, and paying below minimum wage.

"I don't believe there was anything wrong with it."

He said the starting salary was R2,000 which would increase to R2,500 if all the work was done "in the way [Mrs Allie] wants". The ad stipulates that the salary would be increased.

The domestic worker will sleep on the property and work seven days a week, except for two Sundays a month, when she will get off.

Allie said they had removed the ad because they had filled the position. His wife had received "a few" messages responding to the ad.

Allie said the family was only able to pay R2,000 a month because he recently started a business as a "general worker".

"That is basically all that we can afford. I just need someone to help my wife," Allie said.

'I don't understand the issue'

The minimum wage for South African domestic workers is R12 an hour. This means the family would legally be required to pay a domestic worker at least R3,402 if the worker worked nine hours a day, seven days a week. This amount however excludes the overtime she would work.

Allie said he was not aware what the minimum wage was.

"Look, it's not a permanent position. People can come and go on a regular basis. We have had people working for less. There are people that can afford paying more, but we simply can't afford it."

According to the advert, the domestic worker has to have a valid passport which "Mrs Allie" will keep with her.

"You see, what happened before is we had stuff stolen in our home, clothes and stuff, and we needed a guarantee that it won't happen again," he said.

Allie said the family preferred foreign domestic workers.

"Particularly Zimbabwean. We have worked with them in the past and we trust them," Allie said.

"I don't understand why there is any issue with it. Many people that have worked for us were pleased with what we were paying and they would've accepted less.

"We offer them a home. We offer them sheets for the bed."

People on Twitter however held nothing back.

"This is disgusting," tweeted @jennabruwer, while @mattduplessis said: "I think you'll find it's standard practice in the industry. The human trafficking & modern slavery industry, that is."