Johannesburg - The national minimum wage will kick in on January 1, meaning no South African worker will earn less than R20 an hour in the new year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Friday.
"We are here to declare that from 1 January 2019 the national minimum wage shall be introduced. No worker in South Africa may be paid below the national minimum wage," Ramaphosa said while addressing stakeholders in Kliptown, Soweto.
"This is a great achievement for working people in South Africa who have endured decades of exploitation."
The president acknowledged the R20 an hour or R3 500 a month minimum pay was not a living wage but said government and its social partners, including labour and business, had to strike a balance between improving the income of South Africa's lowest-paid workers and the need to increase employment levels in the country.
"The social partners agreed on this starting level because the available evidence showed that it would not lead to widespread lay-offs but at the same time would increase the earnings of as many as six million working South Africans."