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National minimum wage in SA a done deal: ANC

| Economic factors

The African National Congress (ANC) will implement a national minimum wage in the new year, according to a report in Business Day, citing secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

He said that the only remaining sticking point is the amount, which needs to be discussed between the ruling party and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Nedlac’s consideration of the modalities of the introduction of a national minimum wage could be completed next year, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said last week.

According to Business Day, labour wants the floor set at between R4,500 and R5,500 a month.

Debate also continues as to who will administer, and monitor the system.

“On the National Minimum Wage, the NEC has received a detailed report on the engagements currently underway towards the implementation of the National Minimum Wage. The process is now at a stage where there are disagreements on the figure to be set as a Minimum Wage.

“We trust that stakeholders to the process will exercise the necessary wisdom and reach a speedy conclusion. South Africa must decisively towards reducing wage inequality. Such conclusion must be informed by multiple factors, which must include the impact on the working poor, employment, investment and poverty,” Mantashe said in a statement on Monday.

Currently, wage regulation in South Africa takes place through collective bargaining and direct regulation of pay for vulnerable workers via the sectoral determinations.

The average minimum wage is a monthly wage of R2,731.74 across all the private-sector bargaining councils; and in the region of R2,362.36 across all the sectoral determinations.

Despite this, however, many workers in the country are still paid below minimum wage – and as many as 60% of South Africa’s workforce earn below R3,000.

Union Cosatu has called for a national minimum wage of between R4,500 and R6,000 to be set for workers in South Africa. This echoes the call from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to establish a national minimum wage of R4,500 in 2016.

DA shadow Minister of Labour, Ian Ollis, has previously said that the debate on a national minimum wage is currently irrelevant as the country has over 8.4 million unemployed people who couldn’t benefit from it anyway.

“Giving R300 or R400 extra to someone via a minimum wage might provide a little help for those who already have a job, while ignoring those 8.4 million South Africans who sit on the side of the road in Alexandra, Ekhuruleni or Mamelodi every day looking for work,” he said.

Ollis stressed that the DA is not against minimum wages, but it must be sector specific to curb job losses in marginal industries.

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