Gauteng's Covid-19 jobs bloodbath could be as bad as two million jobs, Makhura warns
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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has warned that massive job losses would hit the country’s economic hub as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to damage the economy.
Makhura was updating the Gauteng Legislature on the efforts by his administration to fight the virus' spread.
Of the 7 million projected job losses due to Covid-19 in South Africa, Makhura said many of them would be in the province.
“In our modelling in Gauteng, there are two scenarios. In the best-case scenario, we will have about 890 000 job losses. We have revised the number from 600 000 people losing jobs. In the worst-case scenario, up to two million jobs will be lost in the Gauteng economy,” Makhura said.
DA caucus leader Solly Msimanga said the provincial government had to proactively put measures in place to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the economy, including in the way it used the Covid-19 funds.
“It is important that we lead in terms of injecting and re-energising the economy of SA but starting here in Gauteng. I think the government will have a very critical role to play in terms of stimulating the economy once more. This is why I was asking how much we are going to be spending because our spending should be focused at also becoming a stimulus of getting the economy going,” Msimanga said.
Despite quickly becoming the country's Covid-19 epicentre soon after its first confirmed case on March 7, Gauteng has since seen a gradual decrease in infection rates while other provinces, including the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape, continue to see a surge in infections.
By Monday afternoon, of the 16 433 confirmed Covid-19 cases in SA, Gauteng had 2 343, and the Western Cape 10 035.
Makhura credited the lockdown for the decrease in infections.
The country is currently gearing itself up for the further relaxation of the current level 4 lockdown down to level 3 at the end of the month.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that some parts of the country that remain hotspots of infections would remain on level 4.
Makhura has however indicated all the metros and regions in the province would move to level 3 as the provincial economy was integrated and impossible to treat disjointedly.