Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit Lesotho as SADC Facilitator, Thursday 18 September 2014 17 September 2014 Departing from OR Tambo Airport. Interview ? Maseru - South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the SADC Facilitator, will pay an official visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho on Thursday, 18 September 2014. Ê Deputy President Ramaphosa will be supported in his task by a team of SADC Troika member-states experts and secretariat. Ê During the visit Deputy President Ramaphosa, is expected to interact with members of the Coalition Government and other political role-players in the country as part of efforts to help the people of Lesotho to find a solution to their current political and security challenges.Ê Ê The visit follows a decision of the SADC Double Troika of Heads of State and Government plus DRC and Tanzania which convened in Pretoria on Monday, 15 September 2014, to consider among others the current political and security challenges facing the Kingdom of Lesotho. Ê In this context, the SADC Troika urged all role-players in the Kingdom of Lesotho to, ÔÕresolve their political challenges in accordance with the constitution, laws of the land and in line with democratic principlesÕÕ. In pursuance of this objective the parties agreed to bring forward the date of elections and to work with the Facilitator in ÔÕaddressing all political and security challenges in preparation for the brought forward electionsÕÕ Ê Consequently, the SADC Troika mandated Deputy President Ramaphosa to act as Facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho, to assist in the restoration of the political and security stability, the creation of lasting peace and constitutional normalcy. For more information contact Ronnie Mamoepa at 082 990 4853 or Clayson Monyela 082 884 5974. Ê Issued by: The Presidency and DIRCO

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South Africa introduces $260 monthly minimum wage


South Africa will introduce a national minimum wage of 3,500 rand (261 dollars) per month in 2018, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, following protracted negotiations between the government and labour unions.

Supporters of a minimum wage say it can stimulate growth as workers can spend more, as well as reducing inequality.

Critics say it could lead to increased unemployment as employers will be unable to afford higher wage bills.

Credit ratings agencies have said agreeing a minimum wage would help Africa’s most industrialised economy hold onto its investment-grade rating by stabilising the labour market and reducing the number of strikes.

“The balance we have sought to strike is that it must not be too low, so that it doesn’t affect the lowest paid workers, but not too high that it leads to massive job losses,” Ramaphosa told a news conference.

Ramaphosa said the national minimum wage, which equates to 20 rand (1.50 dollars) per hour, would come into effect in May 2018.

Businesses that are unable to afford the minimum wage would be permitted to apply for an exemption of up to 12 months, Ramaphosa said. The Treasury had also thrown its political weight behind the policy initiative.

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Chief economist at Nedbank Dennis Dykes said the agreement was a sign of an improving relationship between labour, business and government, but warned that its implementation needed to be monitored.

“It is by no means certain this will lead to job creation. “It needs to be watched carefully for any negative effects,” Dykes said.

Monthly earnings for employees averaged 18,045 rand (1,200 dollars) per month in May 2016, according to Statistics. Mmany workers earn far less than that, with domestic workers and farm labourers among the lowest paid.

Some unions had asked for a minimum wage of as much as 4,500 rand.

South Africa’s mining sector was brought to its knees by a crippling five-month stoppage over pay in 2014,pushing the economy to the brink of a recession.

South Africa’s unemployment rate hit its highest level on record, 27.1 per cent of the workforce, in the third quarter of 2016, and it remains amongst the world’s most unequal societies.

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