Ramaphosa: ‘Historic’ minimum wage to come into effect on January 1 2019

The national minimum wage of R20 per hour will be effective from January 1 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at a ceremony on Friday in Kliptown, Soweto.

The location was chosen in a nod to the Freedom Charter, which was adopted there in 1955 and called for a minimum wage.

Ramaphosa signed four bills into law in late November to give effect to a R3 500 monthly national minimum wage for most categories of workers, but did not announce a start date. The ceremonial event on Friday was attended by representatives of business, organised labour and community groups.

The legislation will see a R20 compulsory hourly rate, which will be phased in at R18 an hour for farmworkers and R15 an hour for domestic workers.

Ramaphosa spearheaded the four year process that led up to the signing on Friday after he was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma in 2014 to stabilise the labour environment.


Earlier Tanya Cohen, the CEO of Business Unity SA, said ratings agencies want to see a stable labour market in South Africa, and the minimum wage, together with new provisions in the Labour Relations Act, was credit positive.

She added that the design of the wage took into account affordability and the phasing in of the wage threshold for domestic workers and farmworkers.

“In the end, we did manage to find a sweet spot, between what is socially acceptable and economically efficient,” she said.

‘Half the nation will benefit’

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said half the nation would benefit from the minimum wage directly, as 47% of the workforce currently earns below the threshold. She said it would act as a stimulus for the economy.

Thulani Tshefuta, representing the community sector at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), said the minimum wage should be viewed together with National Health Insurance and the proposal for comprehensive social security which is being discussed at the negotiating forum. — Fin 24

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Tehillah Niselow
Tehillah Nieselow
Tehillah Nieselow is a Journalist at Power FM. She Covers labour issues, strikes, protests and general stories

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: George Euvrard, the brains behind our cryptic crossword

George Euvrard spoke to Athandiwe Saba about his passion for education, clues on how to solve his crosswords and the importance of celebrating South Africa.

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

More top stories

Somali troops may have been drawn into Ethiopia’s civil war

The Mail & Guardian spoke to Somalis about their relatives who disappeared after signing up for military training and fear they may have been killed

US-Africa policy can be reset under Biden

A lack of nuanced, in-depth analysis has in the past led to policy blunders – with disastrous consequences

New tool finds best places to build wind farms to...

Researchers say the computer model is a ‘win-win’ for eagles and wind farm developers

A bowl of warmth in a time of need

Soup for the Sick is nourishing hundreds of people too ill to cook for themselve
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…