Ramaphosa believes the National Minimum Wage Bill will be implemented later this year

President Cyril Ramaphosa (Paul Botes)

President Cyril Ramaphosa (Paul Botes)

On Tuesday, President Ramaphosa announced that he is confident that the National Minimum Wage Bill will be implemented after speaking with trade union federation Cosatu’s central executive committee.

According to TimesLive, Ramaphosa had a three-hour meeting with the union to discuss issues regarding the Bill, a meeting which the president deemed productive.

“On the implementation of national minimum wage‚ where there are issues that still need to be tweaked and crossed‚ Cosatu is going to be able to do that. But the process is moving ahead with the full participation and support of all of us‚” said Ramaphosa to journalists.

READ MORE: Oliphant slams national minimum wage detractors

Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the federation is pleased with Ramaphosa’s confidence in and recognition of the new bill.

“We’re happy with the acknowledgement of the government and the president. We welcome it because we need to start a conversation about minimum wage,” Pamla said.

Although Cosatu openly welcomes Ramaphosa’s recognition of minimum wage, South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has publicly opposed the Bill, saying in a recent statement that it could fiscally harm individuals because it “legislates and legitimises a poverty wage on which no-one should be expected to live, and will undermine trade unions’ independence and workers’ constitutional right to strike”.

The Bill was introduced in order to protect workers from low wages, “promote collective bargaining”, and support “economic policy”.
It also is meant to reduce inequality between South Africans.

Under the Bill, workers who work 40-hour weeks will receive R20 an hour or R3 500 per month. Although it was supposed to be implemented on May 1, the implementation of the Bill was pushed back due to parliamentary processes.

The Bill is a hot topic for dispute. On April 25, thousands of workers from a number of unions protested the Bill nationwide. Times Live reports a fight broke out last Wednesday in Parliament between Saftu members and Parliament security over the new Bill after complaining that their “presentation on the Bill was ignored.”

READ MORE: Labour department accused of undermining ‘meaningful national minimum wage package’

The ANC along with Cosatu, the South African National Civic Organisation and the South African Communist Party will be holding a meeting to discuss the Bill further in detail.

They will also discuss VAT increases and the ban on labour brokers.

Arielle Schwartz

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