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South Africa’s Proposed Minimum Wage

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has proposed the national minimum wage in South Africa – R3,500 per month, or R20 per hour. This is how it compares to other national minimum wages across the world.

The proposed National Minimum Wage (NMW) was presented to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) by a panel appointed to advise on the level at which the NMW should be set.

Minimum Wage

Currently, 47% of all workers earn less than R3 500 per month. Labour and community constituencies at NEDLAC wanted the level to be set between R3 700 and R4 500, an amount the panel concluded would put employers under pressure and lead to job losses.

Wages are politically sensitive in the country, where the official unemployment rate is close to 25%.

One employment expert reckoned the figure was only about a quarter of the amount needed for the upkeep of a typical South African working-class household.

Prof Chris Malikane of the University of Witwatersrand told a Johannesburg radio station: “You would need 12,000 rand to sustain a basic household.”

At present this is merely a legal direction and has to be agreed upon by all stakeholders, including labour, business, government and communities before it is officially ratified and becomes law.

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