South africa: entry into force of the minimum wage

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JOHANNESBURG | millions of south african workers will benefit from the entry into force Tuesday, a minimum wage, said president Cyril Ramaphosa, for five months of delicate general elections in a country that is struggling with sluggish growth and record unemployment.

“Millions of south african workers will benefit”, said Mr Ramaphosa in his wishes of New Year. “This is the result of many decades of relentless struggle and a vivid demonstration of the determination common to all the social partners to tackle poverty and inequality”, he said.

The minimum wage in the amount of 20 rands an hour (1.88 $), is 3500 rand per month, is expected to benefit some 6 million workers.

According to the government, it is going to benefit 70% of agricultural workers and 90% of the house staff. Companies in financial difficulties will be exempted from the apply.

Its establishment is a first in South Africa, which has the economy as the most industrialized of the continent.

The ANC (African National Congress), the ruling is hoped that this measure will appeal to his electoral base in the traditional poor of the township – ghettos with the poor and in rural areas.

Former trade unionist-turned-businessman to success, Cyril Ramaphosa, who took the reins of the country in February, after the resignation of the controversial Jacob Zuma, promised to revive the economy.

The introduction of a minimum wage has been strongly criticised by the opposition and several trade unions.

The main opposition party, the democratic Alliance (DA), had voted against the minimum wage, believing that it would result in “significant job losses”.

The party of the radical left of the Fighters for economic freedom (EFF), had, him, like many unions, estimated that its amount was insufficient.

The second trade union federation in the country, the Saftu, has denounced “a wage slave”.

But the largest central trade union in South Africa, Cosatu, has hailed “a significant injection of money into the pockets of the workers”.