Unemployment, poverty and hunger were issues South Africa knew all too well even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has made them worse. Job losses have increased and unemployment has not been offset by a massive government economic stimulus package and wage compensation scheme.
But the COVID-19 impact has been unequal for the most part. The worst affected sectors of the economy, like tourism and hospitality, tend to employ relatively low-skilled workers. The country's temporary ban on alcohol also had an impact on jobs in bars and restaurants. Low- and semi-skilled workers tend to live in townships within South African cities; the poorest live in informal settlements. So these communities have been affected far worse than those in the suburbs.
Research by our two guests shows that during the hard lockdown in April 2020 unemployment reached a staggering rate of 50% for shack dwellers and 40% in townships but less than 30% in the suburbs. Informal traders were badly affected by the initial lockdown and abandoned street trading.
In today's episode of Pasha, Ivan Turok and Justin Visagie at the Human Sciences Research Council discuss how COVID-19 has affected South Africa's urban population.
"Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, April 24 2020, homeless people next to the road during Corona virus lockdown Covid-19 pandemic sitting with rocks and chairs out of focus" by Africanstar found on Shutterstock
Authors: Ozayr Patel - Digital Editor | Ivan Turok - Executive Director, Human Sciences Research Council | Justin Visagie - Research Specialist: Human Sciences Research Council, Human Sciences Research Council