Presidential imbizo: 'Job losses inevitable as Covid-19 takes its toll'
President Cyril Ramaphosa has pointed out that the closure of companies and massive job losses were inevitable as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the economy.
Ramaphosa was speaking with communities during the second Covod-19 presidential imbizo on Wednesday night.
He said the national lockdown he imposed had brought economic activity of the country to a standstill and this had a lasting negative effect on businesses, which were forced to close their doors.
“Companies thrive by being involved in their own commercial or economic operations and these had stopped. That stop meant that they lost revenue.
"Workers had lost income and that is why we came up with the R500 billion assistance package, both for ordinary people at a social level as well as an economic package,” Ramaphosa said.
He said despite the assistance, some companies would nonetheless close down.
“We know that, as it is happening all over the world. This is not just a problem unique to SA,” he said.
He said the government had come up with plans to mitigate the damage, including setting aside R100 billion for job protection and creation.
“We are working on a massive job creation process through our infrastructure projects as well as more direct public employment. So we are responding because the job losses are going to be massive.
"Not everyone will be covered but we are going to make every effort to ensure that those who have lost jobs are able to be part of the interventions,” Ramaphosa said.
He said the government was also working with business and labour to explore opportunities presented by the Covid-19 as well as devise “a very clearly articulated recovery plan” for the country.