S.Africa launches first minimum wage ahead of poll

Tuesday January 1 2019

SA president Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a media conference at the end of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg on July 27, 2018. PHOTO | POOL | THEMBA HADEBE | AFP  

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South Africa introduced its first minimum wage on Tuesday, 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," Mr 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.