Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
5 minute read
2 Sep 2020
5:00 am

Covid-19 being used as an excuse to exploit workers, experts warn

Nica Richards

Neasa is questioning the viability of minimum wages and 'suffocating' labour laws as a developing country trying to survive Covid-19. But experts warn that problems are more deep-seeded than scrapping labour laws.

People queue to receive food during a distribution organised by the local Muslim organisation Ghous-e-aazam Welfare, in the Kwa Mai Mai area of the Johannesburg CBD, on May 5, 2020 as the country fight against the spread of the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

The national minimum wage should be frozen until the country is over the financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, says a large employer organisation. The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) says the minimum wage is part of a raft of “suffocating” labour laws which are not viable under current circumstances in a developing country trying to get on its feet. Neasa has, among other issues, asked whether a person receiving a monthly grant is better off than someone who could be employed, but would receive less than the minimum wage. Neasa’s Gerhard Papenfus and Theo de Jager...