CAPE TOWN, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The proposed National Minimum Wage (NMW) applies to all employees in South Africa regardless of their nationality and where they come from, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.
Where an employment relationship exists, all the rights and obligations enjoyed by South Africans, particularly workers in this case, also apply to foreign nationals who are working in South Africa, Ramaphosa said as he was answering questions in Parliament regarding the NMW.
Last month, the National Economic Development and Labour Council proposed the NMW of 3,500 rand (about 255 US dollars) per month, which amounts to 20 rand per hour.
The proposed wage is expected to help ease labour tension, reduce inequality and boost economic growth.
Ramaphosa said once an agreement has been reached on the level at which this minimum wage will be set, it will cover all employees in the country regardless of their nationality.
Employers who do not comply, whether their employees are South African or whether they come from other countries, will face penalties, Ramaphosa warned.
He also said that before a foreign national can be employed, an employer needs to secure a work permit for a foreign employee.
"However, an employer can apply for a work permit for a foreign national in instances where a prospective employee possesses a scarce skill that is not available in our market," Ramaphosa said.
Once implemented, the NMW will significantly improve the position of the lowest paid workers in the country, he said.
Currently, up to 47 percent of working people in the country earn below 3,500 rand.