The impact COVID-19 and the associated lockdown has had on the South African economy was thrust into sharp relief on Tuesday following the publication of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey report by Statistics South Africa.

The core of the report is that 2.2 million South Africans lost their jobs during the second quarter of 2020, which is when level 5 and level 4 of lockdown was in place.

Following the publication of the report, the Presidency issued a statement in which President Cyril Ramaphosa called on all South Africans to work together to grow the country.

“Our success in responding to this unprecedented crisis will be measured by the speed of our labour market recovery. In addition to the relief measures we have already implemented, we must ensure that every job lost during the crisis is replaced and that more jobs are created so that we can meaningfully reduce unemployment,” said Ramaphosa.

The Presidency then goes on to list off the amount of support it has provided during lockdown including R43 billion in temporary relief to four million works and social protection to 16 million South Africans.

But what happens when lockdown ends? Jobs won’t simply reappear as many businesses have been forced to shutdown permanently due to an inability to operate.

With this in mind Ramaphosa said that support for job protection will commence soon.

“Implementation of the Presidential Employment Stimulus will soon commence to rapidly scale up public and social employment and support job protection in vulnerable sectors,” the president said.

Cabinet is also reportedly in the final stages of launching a programme that will grow employment.

We live in hope that these programmes won’t be beset by corruption though given our track record, we’re not holding our breath.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]