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I have looked very carefully at the suggested national minimum wage exemption regulations penned by the labour minister and concluded they make a mockery of our labour legislation. A 10% exemption from the minimum wage amounts to a mere R2 an hour, and to achieve this applicants must submit their financial information, household income, commercial balance sheet, working hours and a motivation as to why the discount should be approved. Over and above this, the people who will most desperately need to apply for an exemption won’t be able to supply the required information. These are not true exemptions, they merely send a message to employers that if they can’t afford the R20 an hour minimum wage they must retrench staff. The reality is that many employers, especially small firms, are already undergoing such retrenchment programmes, and many more have simply stopped recruiting. Even if an exemption is actually granted, it is only valid for one year. Yet when our president was asked ho...

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