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Cyril Ramaphosa urged to sign wage bill into law

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

Cosatu has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of dragging his feet on signing the long-awaited national minimum wage bill into law.

The accusation comes after the bill was adopted by parliament's select committee on economic development in August.

"Cosatu is calling on President Ramaphosa to stop dithering and sign the national minimum wage bill into law. Workers have been very patient in waiting for the long-promised NMW," said Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.

"Our members are rapidly losing patience because parliament passed and sent the bill and other related labour bills to the Presidency on August 30. It is unacceptable that to date the Presidency has not announced when they will be signed or come into effect," he said.

The national minimum wage seeks to improve the lives of the lowest-paid workers in the labour market and if it is signed by the president, it will allow for workers to be paid no less than R20 per hour, with temporary exceptions for certain categories, such as farm labourers for whom their minimum wage has been set at R18 per hour for the first year.

A national minimum wage commission will also be established, and will annually review the national minimum wage.

Pamla argued that Ramaphosa's continued delay in signing the bill will result in the depreciation of its value.

"The R20 per hour was agreed to in February 2017. It is rapidly being eroded by the VAT, fuel, electricity, water and income tax hikes, inflation, etc.

"It is now being overtaken by wage increases negotiated by unions.

"The longer the president delays signing these important bills, the more he loses any political credibility with the workers, who are already angry with the retrenchments taking place in the state-owned enterprises," Pamla argued.

He said the minimum wage bill "must urgently" be signed into law and there must be no more delays.

Presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko, had not responded to Sowetan's request for comment at the time of going to print.

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