7 December 2018

South Africa: National Minimum Wage On the Way, a Major Step in Tackling Inequality

A view of the Lonmin Platinum mine ahead of the commemoration rally of the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre on August 14, 2014 in Rustenburg, South Africa. Thirty-four miners were killed by police on 16 August 2012 during a violent wage increase protest. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Kevin Sutherland)

On Friday President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to announce when the national minimum wage will come into effect. It's a huge victory for workers but only a first step. It will need rigorous compliance monitoring and millions of employees are still far from paid a living wage.

When national minimum wage negotiations started at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), the business grouping suggested a minimum of around R2,000. The unions fought back, but there is still considerable opposition to a national minimum wage, with the DA suggesting potential employees should be able to opt out of the plan if it meant they could get a job.

On Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce the date the National Minimum Wage Act will come into effect. According to the Presidency, the new law will see a wage increase for around six million workers, or 47%...

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