If you think that you will be able to survive on SA’s current minimum wage, think again...
As of the 1st of March this year, South Africa’s minimum wage increased from R20 to R20.76 per hour - that’s a mere 3.8% raise. This is much less than the desired R22,50 South Africa’s Major unions originally aimed for.
The concept of a national minimum wage was first introduced in 2019 with the intention of protecting SA’s lower-income workers from unreasonably low wages. However, when compared to others, South Africa is on the list of lowest paying countries for offering a minimum of R3 388,88 a month.
This new amount lays the wage foundation for most industries, with the exception of a select few that continue to offer its employees -
Domestic workers - R15.57 per hour
Farm workers - R18.68 per hour
Public workers - R11,42 per hour
The cost of living is constantly on the rise and, with our economy deteriorating at such a rapid pace, paying bills and buying even the most basic household products each month will continue to challenge the country’s minimum wage workers; especially in single-income households.
So the question is - will this increase make a difference?
To help answer this question, we need to take into account that some of the most basic household items such as a 1 litre of milk costs R15, 12 eggs retail for R34, and a single loaf of bread is sold for R12. Of course, this also depends on where you buy these products.
The bottom line is that this increase will provide some (albeit minor) relief to the country’s poorer households but it is unlikely to make a difference in the country’s soaring poverty statistics.
There are, unfortunately, no way of predicting how this will change in the future but as the National Minimum Wage Act encourages the National Minimum Wage Commission to review the minimum wage every year, this amount is likely to be reconsidered in the coming years; only time will tell.