earningsBusinessLive reports that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the proposed R3,500 monthly national minimum wage (NMW), saying it would improve the living conditions of many locals.  

The figure was presented to the Nedlac social partners in November.  During his final appearance for the year on Wednesday in Parliament, Ramaphosa said the proposed NMW would also apply to foreign workers.  "[The set] wage will cover all employees in our country regardless of their nationality… Our labour laws cover all employees regardless of their nationality," Ramaphosa stated.  He indicated that about 47% of working people in SA earned less than R3,500 a month and 51% lived on less than R1,036 a month.  Employers who did not comply with the agreed NMW would be penalised.  In November, labour federation Cosatu said that although it felt R3,500 was not enough and "unacceptable", it was satisfied a NMW was becoming a reality.  Cosatu had proposed a NMW of R4,500.

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