CAPE TOWN, South Africa- President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday, that the National Minimum Wage (NMW) bill, which he signed into law late last month, will take effect from Jan 1, 2019.
"This is a great achievement for the working people of South Africa, who have had to endure generations of exploitation," the president said.
Once the NMW takes effect, no worker shall be paid below 20 rand (about 1.4 U.S. dollars) per hour, or 3,500 rand (about 247 dollars) a month, for the majority of the country's six million workers.
The NMW should also be seen as an achievement for business, as it demonstrates the commitment of employers to fairer wages and better working conditions, Ramaphosa said, in the township of Soweto.
As one of the legacy legislation by the Parliament's Committee on Labour, the NMW was passed by both houses of Parliament, earlier this year.
The NMW marks another step in closing the huge inequality that is prevalent in South Africa, said Lemias Mashile, the Chairperson of Parliament's Committee on Labour.
The NMW will improve the lives of many families that have been earning less, and will contribute to stimulating economy as a result of increased participation by many in the country, he said.
The committee reiterates its view that, while the NMW is a reasonable beginning, much more efforts should be placed, in reaching the desired living wage, Mashile said.
The committee remains of the view that a happy labour market is essential, if the country is to grow economically, he said.
The NMW came into being four years after the National Economic Development and Labour Council first began deliberations on the protection of low-paid workers.
Although opponents say the NMW is a slave wage that cannot make both ends meet for the working class, Ramaphosa said, he agreed that the NMW "is far below what we would want workers to earn."
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK