9.6% hike in the National Minimum Wage

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) for South Africa has been increased by 9.62%, pushing the rate for all workers in South Africa – including forestry, farm and domestic workers – to R 25.42 per hour, up from the previous rate of R23.19 per hour. The new minimum wage is effective from 1 March 2023.

This means that the monthly minimum wage for workers in South Africa – based on an 8-hour day and a 160 hour month – will be R 4 067. This represents an increase of R356.60 a month over the 2022 NMW.

The above NMW does not apply to workers employed in expanded public works programmes such as Working on Fire – these workers are entitled to a lower rate of R 13.97 per hour.

The NMW increase is slightly above the CPI which is expected to be between 5% and 6% through 2023. However basic food prices have increased well above this rate over the past year or so. Electricity prices are another red flag as energy regulator Nersa has approved an 18.65% hike in electricity tariffs for Eskom direct customers from 1 April 2023.

Therefore this NMW increase will leave workers in much the same position as they were last year, while employers will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets.

This increase in NMW is expected to be out of reach for most of the small-scale forestry growers, which means that they are non-compliant with current national legislation and therefore unable to be certified. This puts them at a disadvantage in terms of marketing their timber.

The 9.6% NMW increase for 2023 follows a 6.9% increase in 2022, and a hefty 16.1% increase for farm,, forestry and domestic workers in 2021, which brought their minimum wage up to parity with the NMW.