(Bloomberg) -- South Africa will officially introduce a minimum wage on Jan. 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Legislation that will force companies to pay their workers a minimum of 20 rand ($1.42) an hour will take effect on the first day of 2019, Ramaphosa said Friday in a speech in Soweto, west of Johannesburg, that was broadcast on television.

While the wage is “far below” the ideal level, it must help create jobs in a country where 27 percent of the labor force is unemployed and will provide an economic stimulus, he said. The implementation of the law has already been delayed from the initial planned date of May 1. Ramaphosa brokered the accord when he was still deputy president.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Bonorchis in Johannesburg at rbonorchis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at gbell16@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Jacqueline Mackenzie

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