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The debate around the implementation of a national minimum wage has heated up in recent weeks. The government originally planned to begin enforcing a minimum wage of R20 per hour – equal to R3,500 per month for a full-time employee – on May 1, but a series of delays meant the National Assembly only adopted the National Minimum Wage Bill on May 29. Despite the delay, with the National Council of Provinces set to concur, SA is expected to have a nationwide minimum wage within the next few months. In response to the government’s plans for a uniformly enforced minimum wage that would, conveniently, only exclude the government’s own Expanded Public Works Programme and certain categories of farm and domestic workers, the DA has argued for a different approach. The official opposition’s proposal calls for individual workers to be allowed to opt out and on their own volition accept salaries lower than the minimum wage, and for a more nuanced approach where different economic sectors are sub...

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