Ramaphosa believes NMW will help prevent ratings downgrade

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking yesterday at a press briefing at the National Economic and Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) offices, said that, in a bid to avoid a credit downgrade, he intends to highlight the findings of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) report when he meets with ratings agencies later this week, informing them of the “tremendous progress” made on labour stability issues. Ratings agencies Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch will make their announcements on the country’s credit rating in the next few weeks.

Ramaphosa said:

"I am glad some of them are here because they can see how serious social partners in South Africa are, meeting on a Sunday trying to this resolve matter. This demonstrates a level of seriousness by government and the country to put things in order… We have made a lot of progress and reached agreement on key issues. We are being positive, very forward looking."

The NMW was also announced, some R3500 per month or R20 per hour, although, according to Ramaphosa, this is "by no means the final figure of what the national minimum wage is going to be".

S&P said previously that South Africa must reform its labor laws to reduce protracted strikes, create certainty about black empowerment laws in mining and ensure greater cohesion within government in order to maintain its rating. S&P currently has South Africa ranked one level above non-investment grade. Ramaphosa believes the newly concluded labour pacts will also help to prevent a downgrade.