No SA worker will earn less than R20 an hour in the new year’

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

PORT EL­IZ­A­BETH

- Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has an­nounced that the na­tional min­i­mum wage will be ef­fec­tive from Jan­uary 1, 2019. "We are here to de­clare that from 1 Jan­uary 2019, the na­tional min­i­mum wage shall be in­tro­duced. No worker in South Africa may be paid below the na­tional min­i­mum wage," Ramaphosa said while ad­dress­ing stake­hold­ers in Klip­town, Soweto.

"This is a great achieve­ment for work­ing peo­ple in South Africa who have en­dured decades of ex­ploita­tion."

The pres­i­dent ac­knowl­edged the R20 an hour or R3 500 a month min­i­mum pay was not a liv­ing wage but said gov­ern­ment and its so­cial part­ners, in­clud­ing labour and busi­ness, had to strike a bal­ance be­tween im­prov­ing the in­come of South Africa's low­est-paid work­ers and the need to in­crease em­ploy­ment lev­els in the coun­try.

"The so­cial part­ners agreed on this start­ing level be­cause the avail­able ev­i­dence showed that it would not lead to wide­spread lay-offs but at the same time would in­crease the earn­ings of as many as six mil­lion work­ing South Africans."

Ramaphosa said it was hoped the na­tional min­i­mum wage would act as an in­stru- ment of eco­nomic stim­u­lus.

"We should ex­pect that this ad­di­tional in­come will con­trib­ute to greater con­sump­tion and higher de­mand, con­tribut­ing in turn to greater eco­nomic growth and more jobs," he said.

Chair­per­son of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on labour, Lemias Mashile, said on Fri­day that the na­tional min­i­mum wage was passed by both houses of Par­lia­ment but while the com­mit­tee said that it was a "rea­son­able be­gin­ning", a lot more would need to be done so that work­ers could earn "the de­sired liv­ing wage".

"The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the min­i­mum wage is an­other step in clos­ing the huge in­equal­ity that is preva­lent in the coun­try. The com­mit­tee is of the view that the min­i­mum wage will im­prove the lives of many fam­i­lies that have been earn­ing less and will con­trib­ute in stim­u­lat­ing the econ­omy as a re­sult of in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion by many in the coun­try," Mashile said.

The com­mit­tee has called on em­ploy­ers to im­ple­ment the min­i­mum wage and for the labour depart­ment to en­sure ad­her­ence to the new law through mon­i­tor­ing mech­a­nisms.

"The com­mit­tee re­mains of the view that a happy labour mar­ket is es­sen­tial if the coun­try is to grow eco­nom­i­cally. This is im­por­tant if the coun­try is to suc­ceed in fight­ing the triple chal­lenges of un­em­ploy­ment, poverty and in­equal­ity," Mashile said.

African News Agency

South African Ramaphosa. Pres­i­dent Cyril

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