75% of South Africans left without income

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The Pandemics ~ Data and Analysis (Panda) team have made another case for ending the lockdown in all forms, after their recent study found that three-quarters of poor South Africans are now without any income.

HOW LOCKDOWN HAS HURT THE POOR

An NGO conducted an online survey targeting several townships in Gauteng, including Soweto, Alexandra, Orange Farm, Diepsloot and Tembisa, to understand the effect that the lockdown was having on the poor.

The discovered that, in the past three months, there’d been a 46% increase in the number of citizens living in poverty, without any form of employment or payments to rely on.

“1 998 people responded to the survey. The largest number of responses were collected during the month of May 2020. The results showed the incredibly detrimental effect of the lockdown on livelihoods. About 75% of respondents had no income during lockdown, whereas 29% of them had no income before lockdown.”

“An estimated 15% percent of these workers were domestic workers, gardeners, car guards, and waiters who are unlikely to have been registered for UIF and hence unable to claim. The effects of this significant drop in income will be felt for many months, even as lockdown lifts.”

GOVERNMENT HAMMERED FOR “ILL-ADVISED” RULES

As staunch critics of the prolonged lockdown,
Panda continues to lobby the government to lift these current restrictions.

In a statement published on Thursday, the group slammed the 12-week shut-down for being “ill-advised and poorly thought-through”, suggesting that ministers were oblivious to challenges facing the poor.

“Surveys and stories by NGOs and other community organisations are vital in portraying the real effects on the ground of what we believe to have been a spectacularly ill-advised and poorly thought-through policy.

Extending the initial lockdown beyond three weeks has hurt the poorest the most.”

“Township businesses have closed, creating a crisis of income that forces people into desperate circumstances.

With present lockdown restrictions still prohibiting much economic activity, too many small township businesses remain out of action. Many employees still do not know when they will return to work.”
— Panda statement

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