n South African Journal of Labour Relations - From to : clients' and domestic workers' perceptions of housecleaning services in Stellenbosch

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0379-8410
  • E-ISSN: 2520-3223



This paper explores the driving force behind the growth of housecleaning service companies in South Africa. One of the characteristics of outsourced housecleaning service companies is the transformation of a personal maternalistic employment relationship into a triangular employment relationship between manager, domestic worker (former domestic servant/maid) and client (former master/madam/employer). The triangular employment relationship creates distance between clients and domestic workers as domestic workers are under the authority and supervision of a third person (the manager/owner of the housecleaning service company). While there have been many studies focusing on domestic work, few studies have documented the driving force behind this transition from private to outsourced housecleaning services. This study attempts to fill this void by analysing clients' and domestic workers' perspectives on two housecleaning service companies in the Stellenbosch area. Two case studies were chosen in the Stellenbosch area which reflect the general trend in most housecleaning service companies in South Africa in terms of services, size and objectives. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews with the focus on providing a dual perspective from both clients and domestic workers on their perceptions of the growth of housecleaning service companies in South Africa.

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