National Minimum Wage: Who, where, why and how?

National Minimum Wage: Who, where, why and how?

The National Minimum Wage Bill, as well as the agreement signed at NEDLAC (hereafter the NEDLAC agreement) in February 2017, has been a source of concern within the agricultural sector. This document highlights the most important aspects of the agreement reached, as well as specific provisions in the draft Bill:

1. The target date is 1 May 2018:

In the NEDLAC agreement, a target date is set at 1 May 2018. This means that government wants national legislation, enforcing the national minimum wage, promulgated and implemented between now (July 2017) and the target date.

Given that the bill is currently at NEDLAC where it is foreseen that it will be robustly debated, and that it will still need to go through the parliamentary processes before it becomes law, this timeframe is extremely narrow. During a discussion forum with the Department of Labour on Friday 10 August 2017, it became apparent that the implementation date will not be moved, but that the minimum wage cannot be introduced without the new legislation. Officials could not clear up this contradiction.

However, Agri SA remains committed to participating in the process, and will make sure that the interests of the agricultural sector are served. Through BUSA, AgriSA can comment on the draft legislation, and ensure that it fits into the current employment legislation framework. Furthermore, Agri SA is meeting with the CCMA National Office on Monday 13 August to strengthen relations. The CCMA will be the forum where disputes regarding the minimum wage will be adjudicated.

2. The proposed minimum wage is R20 per hour:

The agreement stipulates two exceptions: Domestic workers qualify for 75% of the minimum wage (R15 per hour), and workers in the agricultural sector will be paid 90% of the minimum wage (R18 per hour) as from 1 May 2018. It is important to note that this dispensation is on track with international trends, where workers in these two sectors are often paid a percentage of the agreed minimum wage, or excluded in total.

In the South African context, with such a high unemployment rate, the critical question remains whether we want to exacerbate the unemployment challenge or whether we want to give more people the opportunity to be employed at lower wages. Government will not allow whole industries to opt out of paying the National Minimum Wage, but has resolved that a National Minimum Wage Commission will be created, with the view of providing research to support the level at which the National Minimum Wage is set as well as providing guidance on incentivising the payment of the National Minimum Wage.

The current hourly rate in terms of the sectoral determination is R15.39 (March 2017 to Feb 2018). In March 2018, this will increase to R15.39 + CPI (5.5% forecast) + 1% = R16.39 (March 2018 – Feb 2019). This brings the sectoral determination to R1.61 per hour less than the National Minimum Wage, which will be applicable as from 1 May 2018.

Deductions which are made in accordance with the sectoral determination, will still be allowed. The sectoral determinations will be attached as schedules to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, instead of stand-alone determinations as they are now.

NMW is applicable to the following categories of workers:

  1. Fulltime employed workers.
  2. Casual workers.

The National Minimum Wage is not subject to the distinction between urban and non-urban areas, as is found in the current sectoral determinations.

The National Minimum Wage is calculated as money paid for hours worked, it excludes bonuses and other benefits. Deductions are allowed in accordance with section 34 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and must be agreed to by the employee.

It is important to remember that managing productivity is the responsibility of the employer, and it will become more important to manage productivity properly as the cost of labour increases.

The aim is to elevate both the domestic worker and agricultural sectors to be on par with the National Minimum Wage, within two years of implementation. This will be subject to research done by the National Minimum Wage Commission, which will be established in terms of the National Minimum Wage Act.

3. Minimum working hours will be determined:

The current proposal is that workers will be paid for 4 hours of work, regardless of how long they worked.

4. The National Minimum Wage will only be reviewed every second year:

This means that the minimum wage will only be reviewed in 202, and employers have the discretion to determine increases (if any) in 2019.

5. The National Minimum Wage will be subjected to the same exemption process as the current sectoral determinations:

Employers may, currently, apply for exemption from the sectoral determinations in terms of section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The same process will be followed for the National Minimum Wage, but with the added commitment that the turnaround time for exemption applications will be 30 days. If an employer has not heard whether an exemption has been granted within the 30-day time-frame, such an employer may deem the exemption as granted. The system used will resemble SARS’ e-filing system.

6. Employers will not be allowed to change conditions of service due to the National Minimum Wage:

According to the agreement reached at NEDLAC, no employer will be allowed to unilaterally adjust conditions of employment, such as working hours, because of the introduction of the National Minimum Wage. Doing this would constitute non-compliance, and/or an unfair labour practice. Retrenchments due to the inability to pay workers the National Minimum Wage, may also open employers to possible non-compliance, or unfair dismissals. Government has resolved to assist employers to reach payment of the National Minimum Wage, the method will depend on research done by the National Minimum Wage Commission.

7. In conclusion:

Minimum wages are not a foreign concept to the agricultural sector, as the sector has been subjected to sectoral determinations since 2003. These are largely complied with, especially in Gauteng and the Western Cape, with the exemption process being available to all employers who are unable to pay their workers in accordance with the sectoral determinations.
Agri SA encourages compliance with the National Minimum Wage, and will utilise every opportunity to influence the legislative process to enable employers to pay the National Minimum Wage, to ensure growth and prosperity in the agricultural sector.

Jahni de Villiers
Head: labour and Transformation


Nasionale Minimumloon: Wie, waar, hoekom en hoe?

Nasionale Minimumloon: Wie, waar, hoekom en hoe?

Die Nasionale Minimumloon wetsontwerp, sowel as die NEDLAC ooreenkoms, blyk ‘n groot bron van kommer te wees in die landbousektor. Hierdie dokument lig die mees belangrike aspekte van beide uit:

1. Die teikendatum is 1 Mei 2018:

Die bogenoemde teikendatum word in die NEDLAC ooreenkoms uitgesit, en dit beteken dat die regering nasionale wetgewing tussen nou (Augustus 2017) en die teikendatum (1 Mei 2018) wil promulgeer en implementeer.

Gegewe dat die wetsontwerp waarskynlik hewig by NEDLAC gedebatteer gaan word en daarna nog deur parlementêre prosesse moet gaan voor goedkeuring, is die tydsraamwerk besonder kort. Tydens ‘n gesprekforum met die Departement van Arbeid op Vrydag 10 Augustus het dit duidelik geword dat die implementeringsdatum nie geskuif gaan word nie, maar ook nie sonder die nuwe wet ingebring kan word nie. Amptenare kon nie die teenstrydigheid aanspreek nie.

Nietemin sal Agri SA voortgaan om deel te neem aan die proses en seker maak dat die belange van die landbousektor beskerm word. Deur BUSA lewer Agri SA kommentaar op die wetsontwerp en word daar seker gemaak dat die wetsontwerp binne die bestaande arbeidswetgewing inpas. Verder vergader Agri SA Maandag met die CCMA om verhoudinge te verstewig. Die CCMA gaan die aangewese forum wees waar geskille oor minimumlone aangehoor word.

2. Die voorgestelde minimumloon is R20 per uur:

Die ooreenkoms vermeld twee uitsonderings: Huiswerkers kwalifiseer vir 75% van die minimumloon (R15 per uur), en werkers in die landbousektor vir 90% van die minimumloon (R18 per uur). Hierdie uitsondering is soortgelyk aan internasionale tendense, waar werkers in hierdie twee sektore normaalweg ‘n persentasie van die totale minimumloon betaal word, of heeltemal uit so ‘n ooreenkoms gelaat word.

In die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, met ons hoë werkloosheidssyfer, bly die vraag of ons die werkloosheidskoers wil vererger, of meer mense toegang wil gee tot werk, teen laer betaling. Die regering sal nie hele sektore toelaat om nie die minimumloon te betaal nie, maar het besluit dat ‘n Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie tot stand gebring moet word, wat spesifiek navorsing sal doen om die vlak van die minimumloon te bepaal, en ook metodes om die betaling van die minimumloon te beloon, sal ondersoek.

Die huidige minimuloon soos bepaal in die landbou sektorale vasstelling is R15.39 (Maart 2017 to Februarie 2018). In Maart 2018 sal dit verhoog na R15.39 + CPI (5.5% geskat) + 1% = R16.39 (Maart 2018 – Februarie 2019). Dit bring die minimumloon volgens sektorale vasstelling na R1.61 per uur minder as die Nasionale Minimumloon, wat op 1 Mei 2018 sal inskop.

Aftrekkings wat volgens die sektorale vasstellings toegelaat word (soos behuising), sal steeds toegelaat word. Die sektorale vasstellings sal voortaan as skedules aan die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes geheg word, eerder as aparte sektorale vasstellings soos nou die geval is.

Die Nasionale Minimumloon is van toepassing op die volgende kategorieë werkers:

  1. Voltydse werkers.
  2. Deeltydse werkers.

Die Nasionale minimumloon tref nie onderskeid wat gebied betref, soos die sektorale vasstellings soms doen nie.

Die Nasionale Minimumloon word aan werkers betaal vir ure gewerk, en sluit bonusse en ander voordele uit. Aftrekkings ingevolge artikel 34 van die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes word toegelaat, met die instemming van die werker.

Dit is belangrik om te onthou dat dit die werkgewer se verantwoordelikheid is om produktiwiteit te bestuur, en dat dit meer en meer belangrik gaan word om die produksie van werkers korrek te bestuur, soos arbeidskoste verhoog.

Die doelwit is om huiswerkers en werkers in die landbousektor binne twee jaar op dieselfde vlak te betaal as werkers in ander sektore. Dit sal onderhewig wees aan die navorsing wat deur die Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie gedoen sal word.

3. Werksure sal vooraf vasgestel word:

Die huidige voorstel is dat ‘n werker vir ‘n minimum van 4 ure per dag vergoed word, ongeag hoe lank daar gewerk is.

4. Die Nasionale Minimumloon word slegs elke tweede jaar hersien:

Dit beteken dat die minimumloon eers weer in 2020 hersien sal word, en werkgewers het die diskresie om verhogings (al dan nie) in 2019 toe te staan.

5. Die Nasionale Minimumloon is onderhewig aan dieselfde kwytskelding (exemption) proses as die huidige sektorale vasstelings:

Volgens die huidige vasstellings mag werkgewers ingevolge artikel 50 van die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes aansoek doen vir kwytskelding. Dieselfde proses sal met die Nasionale Minimumloon gedoen word, maar die aansoeke moet binne 30 dae hanteer word. Indien ‘n werkgewer nie binne 30 dae terug hoor vanaf die Departement van Arbeid nie, mag die werkgewer aanneem dat die kwytskelding toegestaan is. Die proses sal ook elektronies hanteer word, baie soos SARS se e-filing stelsel.

6. Werkgewers mag nie diensvoorwaardes wysig as gevolg van die Nasionale Minimumloon nie:

Volgens die NEDLAC ooreenkoms sal geen werkgewer toegelaat word om eensydige veranderinge aan diensvoorwaardes soos werksure te maak as gevolg van die implementering van die Nasionale Minimumloon nie. Deur dit te doen sal ‘n werkgewer hom skuldig maak aan nie-nakoming (non-compliance), en/of ‘n onbillike arbeidspraktyk. Afleggings as gevolg van die implementering van die Nasionale Minimumloon kan werkgewers blootstel aan nie-nakoming of onbillike ontslag-sake. Die regering het aangedui dat werkgewers bygestaan sal word om die Nasionale Minimumloon aan werkers te kan betaal, en die bystandsmetode sal bepaal word deur die navorsing wat die Nasionale Minimumloon Kommissie sal moet doen.

7. Ten slotte:

‘n Minimumloon is nie ‘n vreemde konsep vir die landbousektor nie, siende dat die sektor se arbeidskoste alreeds sedert 2003 deur sektorale vasstellings bepaal word. Hierdie sektorale vasstellings word grootliks nagekom, veral in Gauteng en die Wes-Kaap, met die kwytskelding proses wat nog altyd ‘n opsie is vir werkgewers wat nie die minimumloon kan bekostig nie.
Agri SA moedig nakoming van die Nasionale Minimumloon aan, en sal elke geleentheid benut om die wetlike proses te beïnvloed om te verseker dat werkgewers in staat gestel sal word om werkers volgens die Nasionale Minimumloon te betaal, en sodoende groei en voorspoed in die landbousektor te verseker.

Jahni de Villiers
Hoof: Arbeid en Transformasie



SIZA has complied a useful guide to the law and best practice in fire safety on farms.







Mmmmm Mangoes winners announced

The winners of the Mmmmm Mangoes Spend and Win competition, held at the Johannesburg Market, were recently announced, concluding a highly successful two week campaign by the South African Mango Growers’ Association (SAMGA) to promote and boost  informal trading.

The winners were Nonthlanhla Mbazo, Josh Khoze and Aslam Alamgir, all of whom have built successful informal businesses which they keep stocked through frequent visits to the Johannesburg Market.

The competition was held during January and required entrants to purchase mangoes from their market agent and complete an entry form to be in line to win one of three R2 500 buying cards for the market.

The prizes were handed over by Bonnie Buthelezi, Market Development Manager of the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop), at the market at the end of March.

Nonthlanhla and Josh commented at the prize-giving that they were both ecstatic to have won and will be using their winnings to boost their businesses. Aslam could, unfortunately, not attend the prize-giving.

As a “personal” fruit and veggie shopper for households, businesses and hospitals in her community in the South of Johannesburg, Nonthlanhla visits the market twice a week and buys approximately 10 boxes of mangoes. She started her business in 2016 after her daughter encouraged her to put her “entrepreneurial spirit” to good use.

“Initiatives like this are wonderful to motivate small business owners. I am thrilled to have won and will be purchasing more stock. This is really going to help improve my cash flow,” she said.

Josh sells fruit and veg at a taxi rank in Lenasia and also delivers to other businesses. He has been in his current business for six years but has 10 years’ experience as a seller.

“I come to the market daily from Tuesday to Saturday and buy about 40 boxes of mangoes per week. Winning this money is going to enable me to take my business to another level. What a wonderful surprise it is!”

Bonnie commented that the promotion was a great success.

“We recognise the importance of the informal trading sector and SAMGA is honoured to be involved in transformation and empowerment initiatives such as these. Congratulations to our winners and we wish them every success in growing their businesses from strength to strength. We’re very pleased our Mmmmm Mangoes competition turned into Mmmmm money for these entrepreneurs!”


SAMGA Marketing 2017

It is MANGO season in South Africa!  It is time to go to your nearest fruit outlet and get some MMMMMM-Mangoes.


To promote this season SAMGA has a promotions activation at the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market from 16 to 27 January 2017.

To view a larger picture, click on it

As from Wednesday, 18 January 2017, two audio adverts will be heard on Jacaranda FM for two weeks during the regional split.

Week 1 Update and Photos

Download (PDF, 1013KB)

More information will follow…


10th Annual Subtrop Marketing Symposium

Growers, packers, processors, marketers and retailers in South Africa’s subtropical fruit and nut industry will get a front row seat to the exciting new opportunities opening up for this sector at the upcoming Subtrop Marketing Symposium, taking place on 9 November 2016 at the Emnotweni Arena in Mbombela.

Delegates can expect to hear from a high-calibre panel of speakers, including key note speakers Khanyi Dhlomo, CEO of Ndalo Media, on trends in local and international media, and GG Alcock, author and informal market specialist, on successfully accessing South Africa’s informal economies.

Industry authorities will also take to the stage, sharing their invaluable insights on the current state of the local subtropical fruit and nut industries, future marketing activities and initiatives, and growth prospects for local stakeholders.

These experts include Derek Donkin, Subtrop CEO, who will delve into key industry statistics and market access for local producers, and recent access to India for local mango farmers and the USA for litchi growers, and the Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association’s (SAMAC) Robert Carlton-Shields, who will look at the association’s marketing plans.

All the speakers are specialists in their respective areas. Dhlomo is a renowned media personality, having started her career as an award-winning television news and lifestyle anchor, which was followed by an eight-year stint as editor of the women’s magazine True Love. During this time Dhlomo doubled the publication’s readership and circulation. In 2003, she was named one of the most influential women in South African media by The Media magazine. Today Dhlomo is CEO of Ndalo Media, a company she co-founded in 2007 and that publishes the hugely successful DESTINY and DESTINY MAN magazines.

Alcock has made a name for himself in the area of marketing to South Africa’s township and rural residents following his unique upbringing among rural Zulu people. Fluent in Zulu and conversant in most South African ethnic languages GG is the CEO, creative & strategy guru as well as founder of Minanawe Marketing, an agency specialising in TV, radio and face-to-face marketing concepts for the informal township market. He was among the first people to create marketing plans for the then-inaccessible township and rural audiences in the early 1990s. This highly successful agency has garnered an impressive following of blue-chip client under Alcock’s leadership. Alcock penned his second book, Kasinomics, which sheds light on the inner workings of South Africa’s informal economies.

For more information regarding the event PRESS HERE


Report on Cool Logistics Conference, Bremen, Germany 26th – 28th September 2016 and visit to Fresh


The following topics were deemed to be the most relevant presented and discussed at the conference –

1. Tackling the issue of Global Food Waste.

Global Food Loss Waste (FLW) is an important topic due to the extent of food that is wasted annually. It has been reported that 24% of all food totalling 1.3bn tons worth USD1trillion is wasted around the world each year. The FLW is contributing 3.3 to 5.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Countries around the world are implemented regulations to control food waste and to minimise the extent of the problem. There are also initiatives being looked at to ensure all eligible food can be reused instead of disposing of it.

2.  Maersk (and Safmarine) launched the Reefer Container Remote Control Management (RCM).

maersk-and-safmarine-launched-the-reefer-container-remote-control-management-rcmMaersk Lines and Safmarine are due to launch the RCM technology during the 1st quarter of 2017. The technology permits the line and/or customers to remotely monitor and manage temperature settings, temperature recordings and probe readings, power supply and location mapping. The technology will deliver live data. The technology has been rolled out over a period of 5 years and units fitted to 270,000 of Maersk and Safmarine reefer units. A web based software program has been designed to allow customers to interact with the container in order to apply these options. A short overview of the capabilities of the technology was given by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen, Head of Remote Container Management at Maersk Lines. The impression was given that Maersk will allow customers to take ownership of the cold chain when the container is assigned to when the cargo is unpacked. I asked the question how Maersk will deal with the issue of claims should customers be permitted to download sensitive temperature data from the system, in the case where it can be identified that the line or container caused a condition in which the customer incurred losses (of whatever nature this may be). Catja replied that Maersk has dealt with this specific aspect and believe that partnerships with customers in reefer management is the preferred way forward. Maersk South Africa will role out the RCM technology in the 1st quarter 2017. In discussion with Catja I referred to the recent assessment of the in-transit cold treatment containers undertaken by the Citrus Growers. I pointed out that the RCM technology will be helpful in managing the technical requirements by monitoring and maintaining the probe temperatures, and especially the DAT and Power off events. For the time being Maersk will be the only container line to offer RCM technology, but it is believed that other lines will follow in the coming years. There were a few stands at the conference in which companies were displaying various RCM technology as well as live temperature data devices capable of transmitting live temperature data to customers. It is understood that some of the lines will adopt RCM technology which will permit the live recording of the reefer units energy consumption, the energy consumption can be recorded for the duration of a shipment. In future there is the possibility that reefer charges could be based on the specific voyage energy consumption by a single unit. This type of technology will over time provide many other uses over and above what has been described. Certainly the RCM technology is a major advancement in cold chain management.

3.  Reefer Containers and Energy Management at Container Terminals

Jan-Eyk Spohler from Siemens AG gave a very interesting overview of the energy demands of reefer containers through a study conducted at the container terminal in the port of Valencia, Spain. The study showed that depending on the number of units stored at container terminals, the energy demand from reefer containers can represent up to 50% of the energy consumption at container terminals. Another interesting but more serious and concerning issue is study revealed that in some cases where there are a high volume of reefers being stored at container terminals, there could be power failures incurring at the reefer banks when there are high demands. This is a result of Kw demands exceeding the available supply. Jan-Eyk suggested that terminals implement a series of power banks in the reefer yards. The purpose of this will permit terminals to manage power supply more effectively. If a power failure is incurred it will be isolated to a particular power bank and not across the entire reefer area. There was a lot of debate around this particular topic with a few notable concerns raised –

a. Are container terminals and in particular transhipment ports cutting power to reefer containers with the intention of reducing energy costs?

b. It was pointed out by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen that the RCM data has indicated notable concerns regarding power off of reefer containers at some of the major ports. Maersk are collecting data on this in order to implement corrective action at terminals that show power off trends.

c. The RCM technology will deter terminals from cutting power supply to reefers or to place better emphasis on reefer management as the power off feed will be live and monitored by Maersk. The RCM technology will permit Maersk technical department to report power off to staff positioned at terminals around the globe. Corrective action can be implemented timeously where power has been cut to a reefer container longer than 30 – 60 min or any identified criteria.

d. I pointed out that in the case of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) there was no current systematic way of identifying critical control temperature units or for a power off event to be detected systematically. The reefer yards are monitored manually be staff who often overlook power off events and particularly to manage the critical control temperature reefer units. I mentioned that Fruit SA have recently met with TPT and there will be a process of development whereby systems will be developed to manged this aspect more effectively. I pointed out that terminals across the globe need to develop systems to manage reefer containers more effectively. This is necessary to maintain cargo temperature so that control temperature shipments do not deviate from temperature protocols. In some cases cold chain disruption can also lead to product waste.

All the presentations can be obtained from the following link:

In conclusion I believe that Fruit South Africa should send a delegate to attend the Cool Logistics Global Conference each year. It is important that a presentation is given from a South African point of view and that the South African fruit sector is represented at the conference.

Visit to Fresh Park Venlo, Venlo Netherlands

visit-to-fresh-park-venlo-venlo-netherlandsThe purpose of the visit to Fresh Park Venlo was to obtain a first-hand view of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development in operation. In South Africa the SEZ policy has been finalized with key areas identified to develop SEZ’s. The agricultural sector stands to gain by creating Agri parks in identified SEZ areas. The Agri parks can be created to offer a multitude of supporting services to the agri sector, specifically in the area of logistics. Fresh Park Venlo is a prime example of how the SEZ can be developed to support the agri sector in a specific area. This example should be replicated in South Africa. In my view agri parks should be considered for Polokwane, Gauteng and Cape Town. It is suggested that Fruit South Africa engage with the provincial governments of Limpopo, Gauteng and Western Cape to drive the Agri park agenda in South Africa. South African and the Netherlands should create a cooperative agreement to steer the Agri Park and SEZ development in South Africa. The Netherlands have tried and tested practice in the development of the Agri parks that South Africa can learn from. More information can be obtained from the following link:

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