KZN survey reveals 'devastating' effect of Covid-19 on employee mental health
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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal's economic development MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said on Thursday that she had received a report revealing the "devastating impact" of Covid-19 on the mental health of provincial employers and employees.
The report was based on a survey conducted by the department, KwaZulu-Natal Business Chambers Council, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Graduate School of Business.
“In particular, we have noted that 30.5% of both employers and employees are experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety and despair,” said the MEC.
She said the survey was conducted during the national Covid-19 lockdown as it transitioned from level 4 (May 15 to 31) to level 3 (June 1 to 15).
"All the members of the KZN Economic Council have noted with a high level of concern the report, which shows the devastating impact of Covid-19,” said Dube-Ncube.
The report also found that 45.7% of employees and staffing levels had been “severely affected” by the introduction of salary cuts, and that 29,7% of employees in the province had been required to take paid leave.
"Wages remained normal only through UIF TERS support,” said the MEC.
There had been a rapid decline in the demand for goods and services during lockdown, which left businesses unable to meet their financial needs.
Despite this, various entities within the economic council had agreed on steps to build the province's economy. “In addition, big business and social partners in the council have agreed to strengthen the implementation of concrete plans geared towards the re-engineering of the provincial economy.
"We have agreed that we need to channel our energies and resources towards building local capacity. The outbreak of Covid-19 has exposed our economy and showed that we are only consumers of goods,” she said.
The outbreak of the virus had again highlighted the need for a skilled working population, which had adequate support to enable the production of local goods for domestic consumption and exports, she said.
“I have stated that the lockdown regulations, which resulted in the disruption of the global value chain, should be viewed as a blessing in disguise. The lockdown has presented indigenous people with the opportunity to be self-sufficient and produce their own goods.
"I have mandated the department to finalise the KZN Localisation Framework so that we ensure that local people benefit from economic opportunities at local level.”