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Ramaphosa agrees national minimum wage is far too low

The president has on Friday afternoon officially signed the bill into law in Kliptown in Soweto.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, surrounded by government officials and union representatives, signs the National Minimum Wage Bill into law. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter.

KLIPTOWN - President Cyril 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.

Ramaphosa has on Friday afternoon officially signed the bill into law in Kliptown in Soweto.

This means from next year, it will be illegal to pay workers less than R20 an hour.

Ramaphosa says 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 above R15,000.”

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 of employment.”

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

The National Economic Development and Labour Council says the signing of the minimum wage is a historical moment and a result of decades of struggle by workers.

Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi said: “This is equal to 47% of workers, in simple terms, half the nation will benefit from this national minimum wage directly.”

While Thulani Tshefuta on behalf of community groups says the minimum wage will change the lives of millions of workers.

“This is the benefit of their toil and this what they will be entitled to.”

The South African Federation of Trade Unions, however, has rejected the minimum wage as a disgusting condemnation to poverty for South African workers.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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