The National Minimum Wage of R20  an hour will become effective on the 1st of next month. The date was officially proclaimed by President Cyril Ramaphosa at a ceremony with stakeholders in Kliptown, Soweto, on Friday.

Ramaphosa says this is a historical event as the Freedom Charter that fired up millions of people to commit to the fight against apartheid was signed at the same spot.

This occasion acknowledges 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  consensus on the national minimum wage.

This rate is subject to future adjustments in terms of the National Minimum Wage Act.

Ramaphosa says, “From the first of January in 2019, the national minimum wage shall be introduced. No worker in RSA may be paid below the national minimum wage. This is a great achievement for working people in South Africa who have endured decades of exploitations it is a great achievement for the labour movement which has placed this fundamental demand at the centre of its struggled for better conditions for workers.

However,  Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi has urged government to act harshly against employers who pay their workers below the minimum wage. She says they will continue to fight for other worker rights.

Parliament welcomes the NMW announcement 

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour, Mr Lemias Mashile, welcomes the announcement of the implementation date of the National Minimum Wage by the President.

The National Minimum Wage is one of the legacy legislations considered by the committee and passed by both houses of Parliament during its 5th term.

The committee reiterates its view that while the minimum wage is a reasonable beginning, much more efforts should be placed in reaching the desired living wage.

“The implementation of the minimum wage is another step in closing the huge inequality that is prevalent in the country. The committee is of the view that the minimum wage will improve the lives of many families that have been earning less and will contribute in stimulating the economy as a result of increased participation by many in the country.”

Can you afford to pay for food and household expenses on the new minimum wage?

The National Minimum Wage Act, 2017 is set to be implemented in May 2018. However, according to the Department of Labour, the process could be delayed by one or two months.

SABC Digital News and OpenUp (formerly Code for South Africa) has partnered to develop a Minimum Wage App that will give answers to the question: “Can South Africans survive on R3 500?”

Where does the information come from?

OpenUp has used the following data sources:

How is it calculated?

The meals are calculated after household expenses are covered. So, in order to get three meals a day, one may have to reduce their allocation to household expenses.