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40% of South Africans expected to be back at work next week

Published Apr 25, 2020



Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel, detailed how the re-opening of the economy will operate during the level 4 risk-adjusted lockdown which starts on International Labour Day, May 1.

Patel explained the four factors they took into account in putting together the framework for industrial classification in determining if a factory, shop, or office is able to open.

“Firstly, we looked at the risk of transmissions of the virus at each sector, the possible spread of the virus in the environment, and the number of people who have to travel to work,” said Patel.

“The second thing was the expected impact of a continued lockdown on a sector and how its economic impact.

“We also looked at the economic linkage of every sector to the broader economy and took into account factors like the contribution to the GDP, the number of jobs, the export earnings and supply chain linkages - how does one sector affect the components of another sector.

“The promotion of community well-being was the fourth factor, which refers to the livelihoods of the most vulnerable in our society,” he added.


Patel said the reopening of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors estimates more than 40% of South Africans leaving their homes and going back to work.

However, not everyone will be back at work on the same day as this will be phased in as companies will need to test their screening processes for returning employees.

Opening workplaces will allow us to have more testing places and a better overview of infections as these companies need to do screening tests at the workplace,” said Patel.

“Over the next 6-8 months, the virus will still be active so the workplace culture will need to be changed as well and we can’t just go back to normal.

“The virus doesn’t move, people move and this could cause a rapid rise in the infection rate so we need to move forward with a degree of caution,” he said.

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