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Ramaphosa: Impact of national minimum wage on job losses to be monitored

President Cyril Ramaphosa says mitigating potential job losses as a result of the national minimum wage is the collective responsibility of government, business, and labour.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa says mitigating potential job losses as a result of the national minimum wage is the collective responsibility of government, business, and labour.

Amid indications that more than 700 000 jobs could be lost as a result of the R20 an hour national minimum wage, Ramaphosa says its impact will be only known with certainty in the years following its implementation.

The bill to give effect to the minimum wage is currently under consideration by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

The National Assembly adopted the Minimum Wage Bill last month, but the Democratic Alliance (DA) wants to know what government plans to do to prevent job losses.

In a written reply to a Parliamentary question, Ramaphosa says the introduction of the minimum wage is a significant step towards addressing the challenge of low pay and wage inequality.

He says that while there are different estimates of potential job cuts, research has also indicated that it could lead to greater productivity associated with higher earnings and increased household expenditure.

Ramaphosa adds the National Minimum Wage Commission will monitor the impact of the wage on the economy and on jobs.

He says where businesses are under pressure as a result of introducing the national minimum wage, they will be able to apply for a 12-month exemption.

Ramaphosa says this exemption will be most important mitigating factor to prevent job losses.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)