EDITORIAL | As usual, government’s ineptitude fails the poor

Ideas

EDITORIAL | As usual, government’s ineptitude fails the poor

It was quick to implement the harshest of lockdowns, but doesn’t seem to give a hoot about its now-starving citizens

Editorial

An academic survey into the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus has painted a very sobering picture of who is at the receiving end of the pain induced by the national lockdown. Those who bear the ultimate brunt of a loss of employment and income, and the effects of the associated hunger, are black, female, poorly educated low-income earners.

The study was conducted by 30 social science researchers who were granted access to participants in government’s National Income Dynamics Study — Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (Nids-Cram). The Nids-Cram is a broadly representative panel survey of 7,000 South Africans who are contacted every month and asked a range of questions about their employment, income, household welfare, grant recipient status and so on.

The study estimates that three million South Africans lost their jobs between February and April, with 1.5 million more losing their income through being furloughed (losing income while holding onto their jobs). Women accounted for two million of the three million who lost their jobs and almost half of all those surveyed reported that they ran out of money to buy food in April...

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