'Lockdown cost 3 million jobs, caused widespread hunger'
Cape Town - Three million South Africans have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
Thirty social science researchers from five South African universities came together to conduct the national Income Dynamics Stud Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey over the course of May and which will continue until December.
Yesterday, the first results of a survey of 7000 South Africans looked at the impact of the pandemic on employment, health and hunger, among other issues..
Researchers found that 3million South Africans lost their jobs, while of those who managed to keep their jobs, 1.5million did not have an income.
“Women bore the brunt of the job losses. Of the 3million job losses, 2million were women.
“Among those groups of people that were already disadvantaged in the labour market and already faced a disproportionate share of job losses from the pandemic (the less educated, the poor, black Africans and informal workers), women in these groups faced even further job losses, putting them at a ‘double disadvantage’,” the researchers found.
Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit director at UCT, Professor Murray Leibbrandt said: “We can’t say too much about policy but we can say a lot about the lockdown, and it did have an incredible effect on South Africans, with 18% of employed (people) having lost jobs and another 18% or more who do not work any more. The social relief has been slow.”
Dr Gabrielle Wills of Stellenbosch University said many South African households were experiencing tremendous hardship.
“When respondents were asked about any hunger, 22% reported that someone, an adult or child, in the household went hungry in the last seven days; 5% reported that a child went hungry in the last seven days.
“Adults shielded children from hunger, but this shielding ability declined with the extent of household hunger.”
* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za