SA’s wedding industry reels under lockdown
Cape Town - Wedding industry professionals fear that the SA wedding industry is facing “mass closures and job losses,” a survey by a media consultancy firm has found.
Conducted in June as a follow up to the South African Wedding Industry Report for 2020, the Crazy Grape survey found that while 44.2% of respondents did not envisage their businesses closing, the remaining respondents projected their businesses would close within one (11.4%), three (21.3%) or six months (22.9%) should the sector remain closed.
The respondents, who are primarily based in the Western Cape and Gauteng, include wedding planners, venue managers, photographers, make-up artists, florists, decor hire specialists, caterers and bridal boutique companies.
Wedding planner and Director of Trunk Events, Tracy Branford has written a letter to Cooperative Governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma pushing for the sector to open by September under regulated safety guidelines.
In the letter Branford said: "The Government is denying a substantial portion of our society the right to engage in economic activity and to earn a basic living. It is not difficult to see how this will play out, on a National level, in time.”
Queencess Styled Events CEO Zilungile Mgqibi-Gankama said: “I was forced to cancel several weddings set for the summer due to the fact that nobody can be sure what the situation will be.”
Mgqibi-Gankama said: “It is an expensive business cancelling weddings as we must pay back clients their money when we are forced to cancel the event. Most of the weddings have been postponed indefinitely as were other events such as baby showers and baby naming ceremonies which are tied to a specific time can’t really be postponed.”
Meanwhile, Stats SA released the statistics on liquidations and insolvencies for May and June. The number of liquidations rose from zero in April, during which only essential services were allowed to operate to 195 in May and 134 in June.
According to Stats SA: “The estimated number of insolvencies decreased by 79.3% in May 2020 compared with May 2019. A 35.5% decrease was estimated in the first five months of 2020 compared with the first five months of 2019.”
Absa economist Miyelani Maluleke said: “On the surface of it, this may seem a surprising result, given the extreme pressure on many businesses from the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. However, we believe the subdued prints reflect simply the length of time it takes to liquidate a company, especially if it is a compulsory liquidation, as opposed to a voluntary one”
Maluleke said: “Moreover, these figures are also much lower than usual, which could perhaps be an indication that the government authority that processes liquidations and insolvencies could be working at a reduced capacity.”
“Undoubtedly, the unprecedented economic contraction from Covid-19 will push some firms out of business, but there is considerable uncertainty about the scale and pace of this, given the government’s efforts to cushion the impact of Covid-19,” said Malukeke.