Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the details of the South African National Minimum Wage, which will be set at R20 per hour.
According to Ramaphosa, the minimum wage – which translates to R3,500 per month for workers on a 40 hour week and R3,900 per month for a 45 hour week – will take effect from May 2018.
The deputy president stressed that the current base is not a “living wage”, though it was a start to uplifting the 6.6 million workers in the country who earn below R3,500 a month, while also hopefully mitigating job losses.
This includes workers from industries such as agriculture, where over half a million workers earn less than R20 an hour – and particularly among domestic workers, where just under a million workers earn under that amount.
He said that the wage will be adjusted on an annual basis, and will be handled by a national minimum wage commission. Any ‘fragile sectors’ that will have difficulty complying with national minimum wage will get assistance, the deputy president assured.
“I believe we’ve set a firm foundation towards realisation of living wage principle adopted by all at Nedlac,” he said.
Notably, Ramaphosa said that worker federation Cosatu was “on board” with the wage, despite media reports stating its opposition. This, he said, was because the federation leaders needed to still take the plan back to their CEC.
He said that timing was the issue, and that Cosatu said they could not be at the signing, but gave their “ok” to go ahead, with their support.
All other federations had signed the agreement, he said.