It is always salutary to be reminded just how dire are the economic circumstances of the average South African and how slowly their economic conditions have been improving. Over 51%, some 29,733,210 of our people, live on less than R1,036.07 a month. These and many other shocking statistics are reported by the panel of experts appointed to recommend the level of a national minimum wage and on a process for its effective implementation, in their report to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. The panel has no doubts about the helpfulness of a national minimum wage in principle — only reservations about practice. To quote selectively from its substantial 128-pages report: "On its own it will not solve all of the challenges we face, but it is an implementable policy which is designed to have a measurable and concrete benefit on the poor. The minimum wage is therefore seen as one of the tools to close the wage gap, including between the genders, and thereby to overcome poverty. "Furthermore...

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