In May last year, the High Court in Pretoria made a landmark ruling that could change the lives of over one million domestic workers in South Africa.

That judgment allows housekeepers, gardeners, and handymen who work for employers at their homes to be able to claim from the Compensation Fund under the Department of Labour should they be injured while on duty.

But this ruling will only come into effect once the Constitutional Court cements the decision by ordering Parliament to amend the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) to include domestic workers.

The highest court in the land began hearing that case on Tuesday.

Maria Mahlangu, a domestic worker who was partially blind and worked for the De Clerq family for 22 years, was cleaning windows outside the house close to the pool on 31 March 2012. She fell from the ladder she was standing on, and into the pool, which was uncovered and had no fence at the time. Mahlangu could not swim, and drowned. Her body was found by her employer hours later.