We have all been waiting in anticipation for the scientific assessments to find out if our lockdown will be extended. President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced on the 9th of April 2020 that the lockdown will be extended for another 2 weeks until the end of April 2020.
“A lockdown is a means to an end, not an end in itself. To be successful, it needs to be coupled with the “Four T” strategy of “Trace, Test, Track and Treat” that the government has developed in the past fortnight.”
History books will be written about the decision President Cyril Ramaphosa made today and will determine his legacy. South Africa has been in its third recession since 1994 and was downgraded by Moody’s to full Junk Status in March 2020. The biggest question all South African’s have is how this extension will affect our already broken economy.
But the reality is that if President Cyril Ramaphosa didn’t extend the lockdown many more South Africans could have lost their lives and not just their jobs. Opening the country up could have led to unprecedented proportions and risk our already strained public health system. Our combined public health care system, our ill and immune-deficient population, alarming number of poor and homeless people and modes of public transport renders us vulnerable to a rapid spike in infection rates. With the rise of the infections it is confirmed that South Africa has not yet beaten the curve.
Many discussions are focused on the number of murders, road accidents and aids-related illness deaths ever day in South Africa. But we must keep in mind that the above don’t have a ripple effect like the deadly COVID-19 virus. At time of this blog (9th of April 2020) the cases that the World Health Organization knows about reached 1,554,713 with 91,817 deaths.
China ended its lockdown of Wuhan the original epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis on the 8th of April 2020 after 76 days. While the deadly outbreak is still raging across the globe many countries across the world are implementing social distancing and lockdowns. Will South Africa survive this second lockdown or even a lockdown duration like China’s? It is clear that the idea of our lives returning to normal will not be viable until an approved vaccine is developed and freely available to all infected.
Several industries have already been scrambling to gather information on how this will impact them and the future of their businesses. This includes getting legal assistance on how lockdown regulations could be relaxed. It is estimated that thousands of small businesses will be forced to stop operations that could lead to millions of South Africans without jobs.
There is no way to sugar coat the situation our economy will face for years to come but we are fortunate to have one of the most progressive legislation in the world to assists consumers recover from the disaster. The national credit act that was legislated 12 years ago is ideal to assist indebted consumers who are not able to repay their dept. This allows South Africans to apply for debt relief allowing them to repay debts over a longer period to ensure they don’t lose their assets like homes and vehicles.
The impact post COVID-19 lockdown globally will change the way we survive, think, go about our normal day and how we do business.
More than ever, we as South Africans rely on our President to lead us and ensure our Countries future.