S. Africa proposes $250 national minimum wage

South African Deputy President of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced a national minimum wage of 3500 Rands (about 250 U.S. dollars) per month.

Cyril Ramaphosa said a government advisory panel was mandated to advice on an appropriate national minimum wage.

“The panel is proposing that the national minimum wage in South Africa, which will have national coverage with the few exceptions that they will deal with, should start off at 3500 rands (about 250 U.S. dollars) per month which amounts to 20 Rands (about 1.4 U.S. dollars) per hour,” he said.

He added that the figure was not cast in stone and challenged social partners (labor and government) to discuss and debate before a final amount is reached.

The panel also discussed how to deal with labor instability, the deputy president said, calling on South Africans to contribute to the debate about the proposed figure.

Imraan Valodia, professor of the University of Witwatersrand and chair of the advisory panel, believed that the proposed minimum wage would address inequality and boost economic growth.

“It is quite striking that around 47 percent of South Africans who do have work earn a wage below 3500 rands (about 250 U.S. dollars). We think as well from this evidence, policy can take us towards addressing the issues of inequality in South Africa,” he said.

Dennis George, general secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa, said, “We look forward (to it) and when we receive the report we will go back to our members so we can brief them on the developments and to get a mandate from them, so that we can try to introduce a minimum wage in South Africa as an important instrument to deal with inequality.”

Xinhua/Zainab Sa’id