FabAfriq Magazine

South African Wages Dip To Just R238,300 Per Annum

The average South African salary has fallen into the bottom half of incomes throughout the world. Statistics released from StatsSA have revealed that monthly wages have dropped from R20,060 to R19,858, meaning the average South African brings home just R238,300 each year. Therefore, it doesn’t leave a lot left for a much needed holiday away once the bills have been paid. But are South Africans really struggling to get by on their wage and, if so, what can be done to improve their financial situation?

Worse than first thought

The nation is now earning less than Brits, the Spanish, Americans and the Dutch to name just a few. And while R20,060 may sound dismal, findings released by BankservAfrica show that the nation’s pay packets could be even worse than first thought. In current financial terms, the average take-home pay was R14,290 in May 2018 which was 1.3% lower than May 2017. However, BankservAfrica state that in real terms, the average salary was just R13,621 a month, which equates to R163,450 per annum.

Who’s to blame? 

BankservAfrica believes that the government’s slow wage negotiations are significantly impacting how much public sector workers are being paid. Meanwhile, other large employers are finding it difficult to increase salaries as a result of the shrinking economy and low profit margins. The chief economist at Economists.co.za, Mike Schüssler, pointed out that the deterioration in the country’s take-home pay has put the Take-Home Pay Index (BTPI) at the same level it was in December 2013, indicating that the nation’s finances are taking a step backwards rather than forwards.

Introducing a minimum wage

South Africa’s lack of minimum wage has been a hot topic of debate for some time. In June, parliament finally passed a bill which will see the country's workers earn a minimum of 20 rand per hour, which equates to R3,500 each month. However, Nhlanhla Nene, South Africa’s Minister of Finance has since stated that "It's the beginning of a long, difficult process, because at the end of the day we've never had [a minimum wage].”

Improving your finances 

As the country awaits news on when it can expect to start earning the new minimum wage, there are steps you can take now to get your finances in order. It’s wise to regularly check your bank statements to ensure that all your payments are going out as expected. Should you find that a payment hasn’t been collected and you’ve been penalised as a result, act now to have it removed from your credit score. You should also shop around and check the prices of services from different providers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

South African workers have seen their wages decline in recent months and reports show that they could be taking home even less than first thought. Thankfully, the government is taking action to remedy the situation by introducing a minimum wage which should help to improve the lives of individuals up and down the country. 



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