Provide your email for confirmation

Tell us a bit about yourself

country *
province *

why we ask about location

Please provide your email address

Login

To share your thoughts

Don't have an account?

Login with email

Check your inbox

We just sent a link to your inbox. Click the link to continue signing in. Can’t find it? Check your spam & junk mail.

Didn't get a link?

Sign up

Ready to get started

Already have an account?

Sign up with email

By signing up you agree to Rappler’s Terms and Conditions and Privacy

Check your inbox

We just sent a link to your inbox. Click the link to continue registering. Can’t find it? Check your spam & junk mail.

Didn't get a link?

Join Rappler+

How often would you like to pay?

Monthly Subscription

Your payment was interrupted

Exiting the registration flow at this point will mean you will loose your progress

Your payment didn’t go through

Exiting the registration flow at this point will mean you will loose your progress

South Africa launches minimum wage ahead of election

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – South Africa introduced its first minimum wage on Tuesday, January 1, with President Cyril Ramaphosa saying millions of workers would be better paid as he readies for a tricky election in May with the national economy struggling for growth.

Trade unions have been split over whether to support the minimum wage, which has been set at 20 rand (1.39 dollars) an hour.

"Millions of South African workers will benefit," Ramaphosa said in his New Year message. "This is the result of many decades of tireless struggle and is a powerful demonstration of the shared resolve of all social partners to tackle poverty and inequality."

The African National Congress (ANC) party hopes that the move will appeal to its traditional electoral base among poor township and rural voters.

Support for the ruling party dipped during the rule of scandal-marred Jacob Zuma, when it lost control of the economic hub Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria in municipal polls two years ago.

Zuma was ousted by lawmakers early last year and replaced by Ramaphosa.

The minimum wage bill faced fierce criticism from the political opposition and some labor unions.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the main opposition party, voted against the bill saying it was rushed through parliament and would lead to 750,000 job losses.

The leftist Economic Freedom Fighters, led by the firebrand Julius Malema, also rejected the bill saying the minimum of 3,500 rand ($243) per month was too low.

The second largest labor federation, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), has labeled it a "slave wage".

But the Cosatu trade union federation said 6.4 million workers would benefit and hailed it is as "a major cash injection into workers' pockets".

The South African economy is forecast to have grown just 0.7 percent last year, with unemployment remaining at record highs of over 27 percent. – Rappler.com