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National minimum wage expected to benefit about 6 million people

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced from 2019 it will be illegal to pay workers less than R20 an hour.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday 7 December 2018 officially signed the National Minimum Wage Bill into law in Kliptown in Soweto. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

KLIPSPRUIT - President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the National Minimum Wage Bill into law, meaning the new regulations will come into effect from 1 January.

By law, workers will be paid at least R20 an hour or almost R3,500 a month.

The government says it will benefit around six million workers.

Ramaphosa made the announcement in Kliptown, Soweto, and was joined by representatives from labour and business.

Ramaphosa has announced from 2019 it will be illegal to pay workers less than R20 an hour.

“From 1 January 2019, the national minimum wage shall be introduced.”

The president says the bill is a step in the right direction to improve the lives of millions of South Africans.

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

Ramaphosa says the introduction of the national minimum wage will strike a balance between the lowest paid workers and the need to increase the levels of employment in the country.

HISTORICAL MOMENT

Ramaphosa says while he agrees that the national minimum wage is far too low, South Africans need to understand there’s a need to strike a balance.

He adds he’s aware that some people are simply not happy with the current national minimum wage.

“Everyone, as I’ve often said, would want a national minimum wage which is way about R15,000,” says Ramaphosa.

However, Ramaphosa says a balance had to be struck: “Between the need to measurably improve the income of the lowest paid workers in our country and the need to sustain and increase levels employment.”

The president has described Friday as a historical moment, saying the country can now work towards achieving a national living wage.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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