Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Parliament - The National Minimum Wage Bill was approved by the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday and will now go to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law.

The adoption of the bill, along with enabling the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, was welcomed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) as a step that would see the income of 6.4 million South Africans increase.

"This will be a major cash injection into workers’ pockets," Cosatu said and went on to thank Ramaphosa for his "unflinching support" for the measure that will introduce a minimum wage of R20 an hour.

"He has contributed immensely both as a deputy president and as a president in championing this historic pro-working class legislation."

It also provides for the establishment of a National Minimum Wage Commission which will review the minimum wage level within a year and a half of it taking effect.

Employers who fail to comply with the wage will be fined unless they applied for and qualified for exemptions. 

Critics of the bill on the left have said it does not constitute a sustainable living wage while those on the right have said it would only hamper the economic climate further. It was initially meant to take effect in May. 

African News Agency (ANA)