Tag: corona virus

Lockdown now due to be ‘reviewed’ by 3 October

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa was moving down a lockdown level, from Level 3 to Level 2, in a mid-September address to the nation, he offered hope that even less strict rules could be just around the corner.

“These measures will be reviewed in two weeks time depending on the state of the pandemic,” he said, after detailing the new curfew, limits on gatherings, and rules for alcohol sales.

That promise was made formal in regulations published on the same night, on 12 September with just a little more detail: the regulations would be “reviewed and amended where necessary”, and that would be done within two weeks of their publication, so the count would start on that day, said co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

That deadline fell on Sunday, 26 September.

But instead of a review of lockdown, the government simply pushed out the deadline.

In a notice signed by Dlamini Zuma on the same long-weekend Sunday, she rubbed out that 12 September sub-section and replaced it with a one-week countdown starting immediately.

That sets the new review date for Adjusted Alert Level 2 – with the expectation that it would be reduced to Level 1 – on Sunday, 3 October.

However, there appears to be no reason the deadline can not again be extended, by the same simple method of decree, either before that date or at the last second again.

After rapid evolution over the last 15 months, Alert Level 1 is now expected to maintain the requirement to wear a mask while in public, and to demand Covid-19 tests from everyone entering South Africa, but to have little further impact on daily life.

 

200 000 job on the line if SA reverts to Level 3

By Lameez Omarjee for News24

If we move to lockdown Level 3, amid fears of a second wave of Covid-19 infections, SA’s economy could shed 200 000 more jobs.
B4SA estimates it would take until 2024 for formal employment levels to return to the pre-Covid levels of employment, if the correct measures are taken.

Government needs to provide certainty that there will not be another hard lockdown to restore and boost investor and consumer confidence.

Another hard lockdown would be detrimental to the SA economy, a shift to lockdown Level 3 in particular would result in 200 000 more job losses, warned Business for South Africa.

The business lobby, representing the majority of SA businesses partnering in their response to Covid-19, on Tuesday issued a statement calling for certainty that government would not implement another hard lockdown amid fears of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

In the second quarter 2.2 million jobs were shed, as a result of the hard lockdown (lockdown level 5) which lasted five weeks. Economists expect these job figures to recover during the third quarter, coinciding with the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The South African economy is expected to contract anywhere between 7% and 13% this year- its worst performance in 90 years.

B4SA warned that bankruptcies of small and medium enterprises, which increased from 4% last year to 6.5%, could reach over 10% – this as credit extensions and tax relief expire.

“If all nine provinces remain on Alert Level 1 – the lowest alert level – B4SA estimates a 9.3% decline in GDP for 2020,” the statement read. This figure accounts for the fiscal and monetary policy interventions as well as the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme benefit.

One of its downside scenarios which considers SA moving to lockdown Level 3 from mid-November and December – sees a further 200 000 job losses and a 10.6% decline in GDP for the year.

“We estimate that formal job losses have already reached 1.4 -1.6 million, with a further one million lost in the informal sector, and that it will take until 2024 for formal employment levels to return to the pre-Covid level of employment assuming that we pivot the economy onto a sustainable inclusive growth path,” said B4SA’s steering committee chair Martin Kingston.

“South Africa can ill afford additional job losses and compounded economic difficulty,” he added.

B4SA said certainty that there will not be another hard lockdown would help restore and boost investor and consumer confidence.

B4SA has suggested that instead of a hard lockdown government implement targeted interventions by sector. For example, all industries should remain operational – unless specifically identified as “uniquely high risk”.

Other measures include limiting the numbers of people at social and religious gatherings, and possibly reintroducing an extended curfew. “Reintroducing cigarette or alcohol bans should be avoided due to their significant adverse economic effects,” B4SA said. Appropriate behavioural and safety protocols must also be applied to mass public transport.

 

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