Millions of workers will benefit when the country's first national minimum wage comes into effect on Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his New Year's message.
The legislation, which was passed by the National Assembly in late May and signed off by Ramaphosa in November, stipulates a R20 compulsory hourly rate for most categories of workers. It will be phased in at R18 an hour for farmworkers and R15 an hour for domestic workers.
It will start on January 1.
"This a result of many decades of tireless struggle," said Ramaphosa in his New Year's message posted on the Presidency's Twitter account on Monday morning. It is a "powerful demonstration of shared resolve of all social partners to tackle poverty and inequality".
In a 7-minute address the president briefly reflected his administration's efforts in 2018 to address South Africa's high unemployment rate of 27.5%.
"This has been a year in which we focussed on one thing the country needs most – jobs, and more jobs," he said.
Ramaphosa said the Jobs Summit in early October was convened to develop new pathways into work for millions of South Africans and provide young people with skills and experience they need to "thrive" in the workplace.
The Investment Conference in late October, meanwhile, showed that there was interest from both domestic and foreign investors.
The conference garnered nearly R290bn in investment pledges. And these investments will place the country on a path for "inclusive growth", said the president.
According to a PwC report the conference could create and sustain 165 000 direct and indirect jobs over five years, but only if all investment pledges pan out.
"In 2019 we will be called upon to work with greater focus and determination to confront our problems and create new opportunities for all South Africans," said Ramaphosa.