Winde said the detailed report on how the unemployment pandemic will hit SA “left the entire room silent”. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency
Winde said the detailed report on how the unemployment pandemic will hit SA “left the entire room silent”. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Winde shares how ’second pandemic’ will hit SA in open letter to Ramaphosa

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Aug 13, 2020

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Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has warned that they expect over 100 000 people to lose their jobs in the province’s tourism sector as a direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Winde says they expect employment to drop by 8.4% in 2020, and then to only grow by 1.9% in 2021. The informal sector is also expected to shed a futher 38 000 jobs in the province this year.

The Western Cape cabinet and provincial heads of department were left speechless following the detailed report presented by the Head of Policy and Strategy, Dr Hildegarde Fast, this past weekend on what this “second pandemic” would look like.

Winde said it “was a sobering analysis that left the entire room silent”.

The premier penned an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa where he share the stats in the report but he also wanted to make sure that Western Cape residents see it.

"We need to put a face to this pandemic, and we need to understand that it is equally dangerous and deadly.“

Winde said his cabinet heard the following:

  • The losses in income and employment have hit poorest people the hardest in South Africa, with the poorest 10% experiencing the greatest percentage of over 55% reduction in employment .
  • Recent research shows that the percentage of people who have run out of money for food in the last year has likely increased from 25% to 47% in our country.
  • The percentage of ‘children going hungry over the past 7 days’ is expected to nearly double from 8.0% to 15.2% in South Africa.
  • The NIDS-CRAM survey estimates that 3 million people in South Africa lost their jobs during the initial lockdown period between February 2020 and April 2020.
  • Women accounted for two-thirds of this total, although they make up half the workforce. Job losses impacted the poor and vulnerable to a greater degree.
  • The National Economy is expected to contract by 7.2% at least.
  • Due to higher levels of inequality, which contributes to increases in violent crime, we could see murder increase by 3.45% to 3.75% solely due to Covid-19.
  • NGOs are reporting an increase in Gender Based Violence reports since lockdown eased and a change in the nature of reports: more aggressive behaviour due to increase in stress.

Winde then went on to share how the Western Cape would specifically be affected:

  • In the Western Cape, we expect employment to drop by 8.4% in 2020, and then to only grow by 1.9% in 2021. A major net loss.
  • In the Western Cape, our tourism sector is expected to lose 104 504 jobs (60% of the sector) in 2020.
  • The informal sector is expected to lose 38 276 jobs in the Western Cape (13% of the sector) in 2020.

The premier also shared how according to the report, the education sector has been affected up to 7 August 2020:

  • Grade 7 and 12s have lost 25% of school days due to closures
  • Grades 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 11 have lost 41% of school days due to closures
  • Grades 4, 5, 8, 9 have lost 57% of school days to closures.

“The consequences of this on the future of our children is significant. If youth increasingly stay out of school, it increases the risk of dropping out and the risk of not completing matric.

“This will affect a young person’s chances of getting a skilled job after leaving school,” Winde said.

The premier also explained that there has been a real impact on many people’s mental health.

“During this pandemic, 60% of people in South Africa have indicated that they are stressed, 46% are scared, and 29% are lonely. The most vulnerable during lockdown are particularly at risk due to loss of income,” Winde said.

“We expect to see continued levels of anxiety, depression and substance abuse as a result of this in future. This will result in a loss of productivity, an increase in child-headed households, school dropouts and exposure to physical and emotional violence.”

He gave a further explanation on how the second pandemic will impact the healthcare system:

  • Due to Covid-19, the Western Cape has seen 68% fewer persons visiting primary healthcare facilities in the Cape Town Metro and 37% in the Rural areas.
  • They have also seen a 22% reduction in immunisations and a 36% in reduction in screening for Tuberculosis.

“This is the face of the second pandemic ravaging our province and country, and one which we must also fight and win against.

“The Western Cape Government will be doing all it can to ensure we address these challenges. But it will become harder to achieve if people continue to lose their jobs.”

Winde said that the only real option now is to prevent a jobs bloodbath, and to allow all businesses that can open safely to do so.

“This does not mean we stop the fight against Covid-19. That fight continues and will require every single person in our country to behave differently as we adapt to this new normal.

“It does mean, however, that we have to now focus on the economy and saving jobs to much a greater degree.”

Cape Argus

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