President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Friday proclaim the effective date for the National Minimum Wage at a ceremony with stakeholders in Kliptown, Soweto.
This occasion will acknowledge the contributions made by representatives of government, business, labour and community under the auspices of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to achieve the consensus that produced a national minimum wage that is currently set at R20 an hour.
This rate is subject to future adjustments in terms of the National Minimum Wage Act.
The national minimum wage represents a marked increase in income for more than six million workers or 47 percent of South Africa's labour force, who at present earn less than R20 an hour.
The President recently signed the National Minimum Wage Bill into law, along with the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and Labour Relations Amendment Bill, which were negotiated by Nedlac at the same time as the national minimum wage.
Taken together, these Bills introduce the National Minimum Wage and provide for the technical arrangements needed to support the implementation of the national minimum wage.
This legislation sets a historic precedent in the protection of low-earning workers and provides a platform for reducing inequality in society and decreasing huge disparities in income in the national labour market.
The President's signing of the new laws followed four years of Nedlac deliberations on the protection of low-paid workers, fair and effective competition in the labour market, and the challenges of labour instability caused by violent strikes and the duration of strikes, and wage inequality.
The Kliptown event will also acknowledge the guidance provided to Nedlac by an advisory panel chaired by Prof Imraan Valodia of the University of the Witwatersrand and by institutions which included the International Labour Organisation.
President Ramaphosa has elected to conduct the proclamation in this ceremonial setting in order to affirm the centrality of collaboration and consensus among social partners to the resolution of challenges facing the country.
Kliptown has been selected for this engagement for its place in South Africa's liberation history as the site of the adoption of the Freedom Charter, which six decades ago called for a minimum wage as part of protection for vulnerable workers.
The government delegation will comprise departments that participated in the Nedlac negotiations and will include the Ministers of Labour Mildred Oliphant, Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, Public Works Thulas Nxesi and Finance Tito Mboweni.
Source: South African Government News Agency