Organised business and workers are now waiting to see if the African National Congress (ANC) will try to implement a national minimum wage, after President Jacob Zuma appeared to promise a discussion on the issue this weekend.
South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Neren Rau says the party should tread carefully.
“The key issue remains the relationship between productivity and remuneration and a national minimum wage may send the wrong signal.”
Zuma was speaking during the launch of the party’s election manifesto on Saturday at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga.
“We also commit to investigating the modality for the introduction of a national minimum wage.”
The ruling party also promised what it calls ‘6 million work opportunities’ over the next five years and new plans to grow the economy.
Meanwhile, speaking just after Zuma’s speech, ANC policy head Jeff Radebe says they want economic change.
“We want to ensure we bring young people into the economy not only as workers, but also as entrepreneurs.”
The party also wants to tighten up affirmative action.
At the same time, both suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) say they’re not going to comment yet on whether they’re happy with the ANC’s manifesto.
On Saturday, Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini said Cosatu backed the document despite apparent differences between the manifesto and the federations own resolutions on the economy.
Vavi has claimed Cosatu is losing its way, while Numsa has formally withdrawn its support for the ANC amid speculation it may leave Cosatu.
Sidumo Dlamini gave the ANC his full support.
“Cosatu supports this manifesto and we call upon all our members to work with us in ensuring this manifesto is implemented.”
But Vavi tweeted that Cosatu’s resolutions call for radical economic change.
But this manifesto backs the National Development Plan which Vavi and Numsa oppose.