Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest on living wage and income  
Need help?

South Africa

World bank, 2014
Poverty headcount ratio at $5.50 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population)
57%
Population below international poverty line

Equivalent to 4,230 per worker per month.
WageIndicator Foundation, 2021

235
per month
National minimum wage

Equivalent to 4,596 South African rand per worker per month.
GLobal Living Wage Coalition, 2021

255
per month
Rural living wage
World bank, 2019
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
5%
Agricultural workforce
World bank, 2019
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
2%
Agriculture share of GDP

ITUC Global Rights Index, 2021
Regular violations of rights

3
medium
Risk to workers' rights

Context

South Africa has a population of roughly 59.3 million,[1] with nearly 67%[2] of the population living in urban areas. The agricultural sector makes up less than 2%[3] of the country’s GDP and employs 5%[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]

Footnotes
  1. ^ World Bank. (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=ZA
  2. ^ World Bank. (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.URB.TOTL.IN.ZS?locations=ZA
  3. ^ World Bank. (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.AGR.TOTL.ZS?locations=ZA
  4. ^ World Bank. (2019). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.AGR.EMPL.ZS?locations=ZA
  5. ^ World Wide Fund for Nature. (2018). https://www.wwf.org.za/our_work/initiatives/climate_smart_smallholder_farming.cfm#:~:text=In%20South%20Africa%2C%20there%20are,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. https://theconversation.com/smallholder-crop-farming-is-on-the-decline-in-south-africa-why-it-matters-119333
Show less

Wages

Minimum wage

The general minimum wage in South Africa is 21.69 (1.2 EUR) South African rand per hour or 4,229 South African rand (235 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 4,596 South African rand (255 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.

Footnotes
  1. ^ WageIndicator, Foundation. (2020). https://wageindicator.org/salary/minimum-wage/south-africa/6226-national-minimum-wage
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State. (2019). https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/south-africa/
  3. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2019). https://www.globallivingwage.org/living-wage-benchmarks/rural-south-africa/

What's happening

resource

Updated living wage benchmark, rural South Africa

Updated living wage estimate for rural South Africa focussing on the wine grape growing sector. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2021.

resource

Living wage benchmark, rural South Africa

Living wage estimate for rural South Africa focussing on the wine grape growing sector. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2016.

resource

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.

initiative

Living wage calculator for domestic workers

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

Learned enough?