14 March 2018

South Africa: Parliament - the National Minimum Wage - Ramaphosa's First Real Test

analysis

President Cyril Ramaphosa determinedly stays presidentially magnanimous, as his performance showed during the first parliamentary Q&A as head of state on Wednesday. But translating his new dawn and social compact rhetoric into action faces its first real test. Parliament effectively has just one month to enact legislation so that Ramaphosa's long-standing project, the national minimum wage, is implemented as planned on 1 May. On Wednesday he again styled it as reducing income inequality. There are many who disagree - and Human Rights Day will see Numsa spearhead a protest march. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

A few hours before President Cyril Ramaphosa took to the podium of the National Assembly for the presidential question slot in the House on Wednesday, the labour committee finally had the National Minimum Wage Bill and related labour legislation amendments on its law-making agenda.

It's taken some 14 months to get there. On 8 February 2017 Ramaphosa, then deputy president, hailed the agreement in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) as "a significant advance in our efforts to address the challenges of wage inequality and labour instability" and "further momentum to our national effort to tackle poverty, unemployment and inequality".

It had taken two years...

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