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Ramaphosa challenged to live on R3 500

Nov 21 2016 07:57
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been challenged to live on R3 500 per month to see how little the new proposed National Minimum Wage (NMW) is.

Ramaphosa, in his role as chairperson of the committee of principals of the National Economic Development Council (Nedlac), announced on Sunday the findings of the NMW report, which proposed a NMW of R3500 per month or R20 per hour.

READ: Labour pact could help avert a credit downgrade

Ramaphosa got support from his party, the African National Congress. Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement on Sunday that the recommendations “are sound, credible and clearly supported by clear evidence, including technical submissions made by organised business, organized labour, government and community constituencies”.
    
Kodwa said constituencies are “urged to proceed with urgency so that finality and certainty can be achieved”.

READ: 'We wanted a minimum wage that would make an impact' - Ramaphosa

However, other parties were not so optimistic.

The Gauteng Province branch of the Young Communist League of SA “rejects outright the proposed minimum wage”, Gauteng provincial secretary Alex Mdakane said in a statement on Sunday.

“This is in fact an insult to the more than 47% of South Africans who wake up every morning to be exploited for a pittance of just below R3 500,” said Mdakane.

Mdakane challenged Ramaphosa in his role at Nedlac “to live on R3 500 at least for a week to actually experience the ‘impact’ a R3 500 wage per month has on an average employee.”

Mdakane said the Young Communist League views the proposal “as a digression from its own commitments of championing the interests of the working class South Africans”.

He called on the ANC to retract its statement expressing support for the NMW.

“Clearly this is not a living wage, but it is a starting point to take the process forward,” said Dennis George, general secretary at the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa). “Unions will meet with their members to engage on the report and will give feedback to Nedlac at another meeting.”

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement on Sunday that the party of Julius Malema “rejects the announced proposal”, saying the NMW should be set at R5 000 per month.

“This proposal favours business at the expense of workers,” he said. “The proposal will not lead to the desired resolution of the problem of inequality. Instead it is going to institutionalise these inequalities at low poverty wages.

“The EFF, following proposals by worker organisations like Cosatu, had tabled a minimum wage of R4 500 to parliament based on figures from 2014, which is two years ago,” he said. “Since then, inflation has increased by more than 6%. This means the initial R4 500 proposal by workers/labour should now be set at about R5 000.”

National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) President Lawrence Mavundla said they are please that “some special consideration has been given (to) sectors like domestic and farm workers”.

“We will persuade the principals to extend this concession and exemption to small and informal businesses,” he said. “ We need to lessen the burden of compliance to the SMME sector who still bore the brunt of repressive and anti-business laws to this day."

Landiwe Mahlangu, chief economist of Nafcoc, added: "Nafcoc is of the view that while the minimum wage is a necessary tool, it is by no means sufficient to combat poverty and inequality. A number of complementary policy tool needs to be deployed to deal with poverty and effective interventions must be mounted to alleviate the plight of the vulnerable section of our society."

Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis said he is “concerned about (the) impact on certain sectors (farm workers, domestic workers, security guards, taxi marshals & textile workers)”.

“The lens through which we should consider big decisions currently is whether it will help create jobs for the 8.9 million jobless,” he said on Twitter.

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