ANC in Talks on South African Minimum Wage to Distribute Wealth

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is in talks with its labor allies on imposing a minimum wage to help redistribute wealth in the economy.

While the ANC’s program to boost black participation in the economy has focused on ownership, a minimum wage is aimed at broadening income distribution, Enoch Godongwana, head of the party’s economic committee, told reporters in Johannesburg today.

The ANC is facing its toughest election on May 7 since taking power in 1994 amid growing dissatisfaction with a 24 percent jobless rate, and a lack of housing, water and other basic services in poor townships. Two decades after the end of apartheid white South Africans still earn on average six times more than their black counterparts.

Labor Minister Mildred Oliphant said the ANC is looking at minimum wage policies in Brazil and China. The ruling party’s manifesto plans for a minimum wage in five year’s time, she said.

President Jacob Zuma said in an interview on March 6 that the government must push for increased black ownership of the economy because the ANC’s empowerment policy hasn’t done enough to redistribute wealth.

Tito Mboweni, a member of the ANC’s economic committee and a former governor of the central bank, told reporters today that the party wants “deep intervention” in the financial sector to improve access to capital for black businesses. The ANC will discuss creating a state-owned bank, possibly through the South African Post Office’s PostBank, Mboweni said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amogelang Mbatha in Johannesburg at ambatha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net Karl Maier

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