President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially proclaimed the National Minimum Wage of R20 an hour at an event in Kliptown, Soweto, on Friday. It comes into effect on January 1,  2019.

The signing is witnessed by business, organised labour, civil society and government.

The President says: “Today acknowledges the contributions made by representatives of government, business, labour & community under NEDLAC to achieve the consensus that produced a national minimum wage of R20 per hour.”

The minimum wage represents a marked increase in income for more than 6 million workers or 47 percent of South Africa’s labour force.

President Ramaphosa’s signing of the Minimum Wage followed four years of NEDLAC deliberations on the protection of low-paid workers and the challenges of labour instability caused by strikes and wage inequality.

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