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Oliphant: Passing of minimum wage bill a step in right direction

Members of Parliament on Tuesday passed the contentious bill following months of discussions, public hearings and protests from some unions.

FILE: Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. Picture: Lindsay Dentlinger/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has described the passing of the National Minimum Wage Bill by the National Assembly, as a "groundbreaking" moment in the country’s history.

Members of Parliament on Tuesday passed the contentious bill following months of discussions, public hearings and protests from some unions.

Government had originally hoped to implement the minimum wage by 1 May.

The minimum wage bill, which was introduced by the Labour Minister last November, will see the establishment of a National Minimum Wage Commission.

It will have to review the initial R20 an hour minimum wage, annually.

While the Democratic Alliance and other smaller opposition parties have rejected the bill, Minister Oliphant says it’s a step in the right direction.

“The national minimum wage... this bill seeks to improve the lives of the lowest paid workers in the labour market and carries the premise of addressing the inequality challenge in South African.”

The unprecedented legislation, is expected to improve the earnings of millions of South Africans.

It will only be signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa once it’s been approved by the National Council of Provinces.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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