Ramaphosa defends Minimum Wage Bill

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President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the crowds during the National Freedom Day Celebrations at the Dr Rantlai Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the National Minimum Wage Bill a foundation onto which the fight for a living wage would be built.

In his keynote address during the National Freedom Day Celebrations at the Dr Rantlai Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein earlier today, Ramaphosa said R20 an hour is not a living wage, insisting that they have never called it a living wage, in reference to the hourly minimum wage set out in the bill.

He said those opposed to the bill must know the national minimum wage is going to increase the earning of 6,6 million workers who were earning less than R20 an hour before. He further stated that the struggle for a living wage must be engaged by all.

“The trade unions should rightfully be at the forefront of the fight for a living wage. All we did was to provide the foundation for this,” said Ramaphosa.

The National Minimum Wage Bill was planned for implementation from May 1st, it has however been delayed.This comes after the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) embarked on a nationwide general strike earlier this week opposing the Minimum Wage Bill.

Ramaphosa is expected to engage with officials from the labour ministry next week to discuss the planned introduction of the bill.

Ramaphosa also touched on the issue of land expropriation without compensation. He said the issue cannot be avoided, and that the time has come for the land to be returned.

He once again reaffirmed that the government is hard at work trying to address questions regarding land reform. Echoing what he already said during his State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa assured the public that land reform would be done in a way that does not result in bloodshed nor compromise food security.

Ramaphosa said amidst calls for South Africans to celebrate Freedom Day, he is fully aware that there are a number of socio-economic challenges that still needs to be addressed. He said on his list of priorities is to improve investor confidence, to create jobs and to deal with corruption.

He said stolen money and resources should be returned so as to improve the livelihood of all citizens. – Olebogeng Motse/OFM News