Parliament welcomes Minimum Wage proclamation date

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Parliament has welcomed the announcement of the implementation date of the National Minimum Wage saying it is a step in the right direction to closing the country’s inequality gap.

“The implementation of the minimum wage is another step in closing the huge inequality that is prevalent in the country.

“The committee is of the view that the minimum wage will improve the lives of many families that have been earning less and will contribute in stimulating the economy as a result of increased participation by many in the country,”  said Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour, Lemias Mashile.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday announced that the national minimum wage will be implemented from 1 January 2019.

Announcing the implementation date at a ceremony held in Kliptown, Soweto, President Ramaphosa said the minimum wage is a great achievement for the working people of South Africa, who have had to endure generations of exploitation.

Mashile said the national minimum wage is one of the legacy legislations considered by the committee and passed by both houses of Parliament (National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces) during its fifth term.

“The committee reiterates its view that while the minimum wage is a reasonable beginning, much more efforts should be placed in reaching the desired living wage.”

The committee called on employers to take note of the implementation date and make plans to implement the minimum wage.

It also called on the Department of Labour to put in place monitoring mechanism to ensure adherence to the minimum wage.

“The committee remains of the view that a happy labour market is essential if the country is to grow economically. This is important if the country is to succeed in fighting the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality,” said Mashile.

President Ramaphosa said while the minimum wage is currently set at R20 an hour, translates to R3 500 a month, is far below what government would want workers to earn, it is a starting level as evidence showed that it would not lead to widespread layoffs.

At the ceremony, organised labour welcomed the minimum wage with Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi saying the legislation is a historic achievement for workers. -