cape town tour

South Africa's minimum wage

If you've been following local news in South Africa, you'll see that we have sadly returned to mass strike action on the part of our major unions.  The issue under the spotlight is the proposed national minimum wage.

Contrary to what is being reported, South Africa does already have a minimum wage, only they are what is called 'sectoral determinations'. This means that each industry gets to set a minimum wage that it finds appropriate for that industry.  For example, hospitality has a minimum wage of ZAR3 193 per month for companies with fewer than ten employees.

Whilst in some senses it's a good idea to avoid the issues around a national minimum wage with industry-specific minimum wages, the reality is that the gap between urban and rural living costs and salaries is so stark that someone earning ZAR3 193 per month in Cape Town or Johannesburg would literally spend close to 30% of that salary just getting to and from work every month. That's before rent, food, and other bills. However in a rural environment, that ZAR3 193 would be enough to support a family of four, assuming the worker walked to work and was accommodated by the employer (which is common in rural areas).

The ANC is caught in the cross-hairs between drastically needing to increase employment (the unofficial unemployment rate is estimated at close to 40%) yet being under constant pressure from unions to guarantee workers a living wage.  As things stand, our president, Cyril Ramphosa, is playing off one issue (the national minimum wage) agains the other (a living wage) by saying that it's government's responsibility to set the minimum wage and labour's responsibility to lobby for a living wage.

We'll wait to see whether the unions will accept the mandate.

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We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.


Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.