Faizel Patel – 22/06/2020
After more than 100 days of the COVID-19 in outbreak in South Africa and after two months of the nation-wide lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country’s economy is in the throes of the anticipated fallout from the global crisis.
Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on Monday in his weekly newsletter, “From The Desk of the President.”
The president says the predictions of businesses shutting down and jobs being lost are materializing.
“As a country, we have all been keenly aware of the consequences of shutting down economic activity during the lockdown that was absolutely critical to save the lives of our people. South Africa is not alone. In Italy, the UK, the US, Germany, India, China and nearly every country that had imposed some form of lockdown, jobs have been lost or hours of workers reduced. It is being spoken of as a ‘job loss tsunami’.”
Ramaphosa says that while South Africa was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, there are more difficult decisions and difficult days that lie ahead for the country.
“The measures we put in place to protect local businesses during the lockdown in the form of loans, tax relief, debt restructuring, extended credit lines and retail rental exemptions are continuing to provide vital support. Temporary social assistance to poor households is gathering pace and providing vital relief. However, these measures can only go so far.”
Ramaphosa says while there are tough times ahead and there are also no quick-fixes, South Africa has to be realistic about its prospects, especially about the time it will take for the economy to recover.