Ramaphosa signs agreement, con

Ramaphosa signs agreement, confirms new minimum wage at R20 per hour

Many think it’s far too low. Do we still have a long way to go?

Ramaphosa signs agreement, con

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa today confirmed that the new South African National Minimum Wage will be set at R20 per hour. This new wage only works out to R3500 per month if you work a 45 hour week.

Ramaphosa was quick to explain that this new amount is still not a “living wage.” He did say that this is a big step in the right direction, especially for those that currently earn less than R3500 per month. That step is even bigger when you consider that there are 6.6 million workers that earn below that amount.

So who is this new wage supposed to help the most? In short, farm and domestic workers. There are over half a million farm workers earning less than R20 an hour. Domestic workers, in particular, have a massive history of being financially exploited in SA. Just under a million domestic workers earn less than R20 an hour. That amount is pitiful when you consider how much physical labour goes into cleaning an entire house daily. The new wage only comes into effect from May 2018.

Ramaphosa says that this new wage will be adjusted every year.  A set national minimum wage commission will be in charge of the annual adjustments. Some level of controversy as COSATU was the only trade union to not sign the new agreement. Rhamaposa explains that there is no need to worry, affirming that COSATU is “on board” no matter what the media says. “Timing” the apparent reason why the union did not put pen to paper. So yes, this wage is an improvement for some of the lowest paying jobs in SA. We still have a long way to go in order to get anywhere remotely close to economic equality.