The big debate: Minimum Wages in South Africa

Currently, South Africa does not have a national minimum wage system.  In certain industries, there are Sectoral Determinations which provide for minimum wages in those sectors.  These include, but are not limited to, Domestic Workers, Security, Contract Cleaning, Civil Engineering and others.  They are amended regularly and can be viewed easily on the Department of Labour website,


To implement a minimum wage will require Nedlac approval, because this is the forum at which organised labour, business and government sit to discuss and agree on issues such as this. They took on this mammoth task in 2014 after being called on by government to address low wages, wage inequalities as well as violent and protracted strikes.


Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa recently appointed a panel to advise on an appropriate level at which the minimum wage could be set.


The panel consists of


  • Professor Imraan Valodi (chairperson) – part-time member of the Competition Tribunal and a commissioner on the Employment Conditions Commission
  • Mamokete Lijane – Aluwani Capital Partners macro strategist responsible for macro-economic and fixed income strategy and asset allocation
  • Dr Debbie Collier: associate professor in the department of commercial law at UCT
  • Professor Murray Leibbrandt: pro vice-chancellor – poverty and inequality at UCT
  • Ayabonga Cawe: economic justice manager of Oxfam South Africa
  • Dr Siphokazi Koyana: skills development and training expert with local and international experience and
  • Dr Patrick Belser: international expert, senior economist at the International Labour Organisation.


Much debate about the level at which a national minimum wage should be set has abounded for quite some time.  Until there is some certainty, we are reluctant to place emphasis on this, except to state that it will be a certainty, probably as early as 2017.