Cyril Ramaphosa
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the national minimum wage will kick in in the new year.

“We’re here to declare that from 1 January 2019, the national minimum wage shall be introduced. No worker in South Africa may be paid below the national minimum wage.”

Speaking in Kliptown, Soweto, a short while ago, the president said the minimum wage of R20 an hour is a step in the right direction.

“This is a great achievement for the working people of South Africa who have endured decades of exploitation.”

He says the signing ceremony in Soweto is a culmination of years of intense deliberations among social partners.

Employers will have to start paying the R20 an hour minimum wage from 1 January.

Ramaphosa says the introduction of a minimum wage did not arrive on a silver platter, it involved a lot of struggle, talking and negotiations.

The president signed the National Minimum Wage Bill into law last month along with the basic conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.

But union federations agree that the implementation of the bills looms large.

Despite mixed views about the promulgation of the R20 an hour minimum wage, both Saftu and Cosatu agree that work needs to be done to make sure its implemented by employers.

A national strike was also threatened.

WATCH: Ramaphosa announces minimum wage implementation date

EWN