Living on a R3 500 minimum wage is ridiculous – reader responses

The new proposed minimum wage has had everyone talking about it. On the one hand, some see it as a good move toward poverty alleviation, but on the other hand, many feel that this amount is far from what it should be.

Our readers weigh in on the debate:

READ: Can you actually survive on a minimum wage of R3 500?

The standard rental for a one bed flat is R3500. Need I say more?!

You say you can't live on R3 500, then how do you expect pensioners to live on R1 500 a month. We also have to eat and buy clothes and other necessary items. Not as luxurious as you may think.

Minimum wage should be R4 500. I am a business owner employing 32 low level workers. My mission is to pay a minimum R5 000 wage per month. My lowest earning employee is earning R4200 per month. I know what they spend on travel and it breaks my heart.

I agree with COSATU. This R3500 per month is tantamount to exploitation and it is easy for people who are in the high income earning group to say that people will survive with this meagre salary.

I have no idea how anyone, even a single person, can survive on that amount of money. What about rental - even if it's a shared room? Transport to work and back and a reasonable diet? It makes me realize how extravagant we are with food.  What about basic toiletries? The mind boggles.

I personally find it outrageous that anyone is paying a full time employee as little as that, even an unskilled labourer, especially employers in the formal sector where senior executives are taking home tens of millions.

Our productivity here is supposedly quite poor in comparison to say a more regimented society like China, but surely a happy worker who feels more secure in being able to make ends meet becomes more productive?

Note: submissions have been edited for clarity.

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