South Africa raises minimum wage with new law


South Africa has raised the minimum wage to 20 rand ($1.45) per hour following the signing of the minimum wage bill.

Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee (JCRC) adopted the report last week in favor of amending Section 25 of the Constitution. Image courtesy: The Week

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa signed the bill on Monday, as the government seeks to bridge wage inequality that has become a thorny subject for the administration.

This will now put the minimum wage per month at roughly 3,500 rand per month.

President Ramaphosa is yet to set a date when the new wages take effect.

The president also assented to the basic conditions of employment amendment bill and labour relations amendment bill which were negotiated by the National Economic Development and Labour Council at the same time as the national minimum wage.

Supporters of the minimum wage say it will reduce inequality and stimulate economic growth as workers spend more.

But critics say it could lead to increased unemployment, already at record highs, because some employers won’t be able to afford higher wage bills.

Thousands of union members protested against the proposed minimum wage in April, saying it was too low.

Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement that while the national minimum wage will not end income inequality, it was a first step towards addressing the clamour for a living wage.

“While national minimum wage will not end income inequality, it provides a firm and unassailable foundation, which is agreed to by all social partners, from which to advance the struggle for a living wage,” reads a statement from the presidency.