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South Africa

World bank, 2014
Poverty headcount ratio at $6.85 a day (2017 PPP) (% of population)
Population below international poverty line

Equivalent to 4,957 South African rands per worker per month.
WageIndicator Foundation, 2023

per month
National minimum wage

Equivalent to 5,354 South African rand per worker per month.
GLobal Living Wage Coalition, 2023

per month
Rural living wage
World bank, 2021
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
Agricultural workforce
World bank, 2022
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
Agriculture share of GDP

ITUC Global Rights Index, 2023
Regular violations of rights

Risk to workers' rights


South Africa has a population of almost 60 million,[1] with 68%[2] of the population living in urban areas. The agricultural sector makes up 2.6%[3] of the country’s GDP and employs 21%[4] of the labour force. In South Africa there are nearly 2 million smallholders and roughly 35,000 commercial growers.[5] However, the number of smallholders in South Africa has declined substantially over the last two decades with over half a million households having left the agricultural sector between 2011 and 2016.[6]

  1. ^ World Bank. (2022).
  2. ^ World Bank. (2022).
  3. ^ World Bank. (2021).
  4. ^ World Bank. (2021).
  5. ^ World Wide Fund for Nature. (2018).,to%2035%20000%20commercial%20growers.&text=Globally%2C%20smallholder%20farmers%20produce%2070,which%20results%20in%20increased%20poverty.
  6. ^ Shackleton, C. (2019). Smallholder crop farming is on the decline in South Africa. Why it matters.


Minimum wage

The general minimum wage in South Africa is 25.42 (1.4 EUR) South African rand per hour or 4,957 South African rand (272 EUR) per month, assuming 195 workhours per month.[1]  Regarding the agricultural sector, underpayment of wages is prevalent, with many owners of small farms not keeping track of worker hours, nor providing overtime benefits.[2]

Living wage

The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed a living wage benchmark for Western Cape Province, in rural South Africa. The living wage is estimated to be 5,354 South African rand (294 EUR) per month based on a family of 4.5 with 1.64 workers.[3] The area of Western Cape Province is a wine grape growing region, and this report identifies a living wage specifically for workers in the region.

Living income

The Living Wage Benchmark includes a Living Income report, estimating the living income or Western Cape Province, in rural South Africa. The value was estimated at 8,692 South African rand (478 EUR) per month[4] This is the net income a typical family of 4,5 with 1.64 workers needs monthly to live a basic but decent life in the region.

  1. ^ WageIndicator, Foundation. (2023).
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State. (2019).
  3. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2023).
  4. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2023).

What's happening


Living wage benchmark, rural South Africa

Benchmark Study. Living wage estimate for rural South Africa focussing on the wine grape growing sector. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2023. 

Oranges and labourers

The potential for job creation in the citrus sub-sector of South Africa. Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS). 2018.


Decent Standart of Living Index for South Africa

This report intoduces a new socially-derived definition for a decent standard of living and elaborates upon its application to the South African context.


Living wage calculator for domestic workers

A tool that reveals whether the wages of domestic workers are sufficient to cover their basic expenses.

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