Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has completed a second impact survey into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the local lockdown, on businesses in the country.
As expected the results are rather grim with the headlining fact being that around half – 48 percent – of South African firms have had to pause trading. As lockdown forced all but essential services and product providers to close, this high number was to be expected, but it’s still a bit of a shock to see in black and white.
This 48 percent is a slight increase from the 46 percent as found in the first impact survey.
While some may think that these closures are only temporary, that’s not the case as some have gone down for good:
“Almost one in ten (9%) businesses indicated that they had ceased operations permanently. The industries with the highest percentage of firms permanently closing their doors include construction (14%); community, social and personal services (12%); and agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (12%). When asked if they would operate during the level 4 lockdown, 56% of responding businesses indicated that they would continue to do business,” Stats SA notes.
As businesses suffer so do employees. Large swathes of the workforce have been laid off or had working hours slashed.
It’s worth noting at this point some details about the survey carried out by Stats SA. This endeavour took place between 14th April and 30th April. This is important to remember as the reduced level 4 lockdown, which allowed more businesses to open again, only came into affect on 1st May. This second impact survey then only concerns level 5.
The number of businesses surveyed is also comparatively small at 2 182 respondents. While this is enough to create some insight into the affects of the pandemic on local companies, it is limited in scope.
The full findings of the Stats SA second impact survey can be found here. The findings of the survey have also been summarised here.