This was one of the balancing acts President Jacob Zuma performed on Thursday night to appease the ruling party’s alliance partners and electorate, while at the same time trying not to alienate the business sector.
He emphasised the importance of allowing private businesses to thrive so that the economy could grow.
ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe said earlier that a national minimum wage would be introduced later this year, although an amount still had to be agreed upon.
Labour indicated it wanted the minimum wage to be between R4 500 and R5 500 per month, but a formal agreement still needs to be reached in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).
Zuma also took a conciliatory tone on the Tax Amendment Act that he signed into law late last year – a move that has irked Cosatu, who vowed to fight National Treasury over the legislation.
"We have heard the concerns of labour about the Tax Amendment Act I signed into law," Zuma said.
"Government is in discussion with Cosatu about the matter and a solution is being sought."