South Africa’s economy can no longer afford to have any form of Covid 19 restrictions imposed on it
1 October 2021
The best of intentions with the Covid-19 lockdown regulations no longer weigh up against the tragic and disastrous consequences of a reeling economy and unemployment, which is growing at the alarming pace of nearly 600 000 every quarter.
Against this backdrop, President Cyril Ramaphosa ought to have liberated the economy of any and all restrictions long ago. Moving to Level 1 while the third wave of Covid-19 infections is declining serves no purpose at all.
Experts are even of the opinion that as a result of natural immunity and the great number of vaccinations that have been administered thus far, the next wave of infections may be prevented altogether. And so far, this disease has not quite had the disastrous impact on South Africa as was initially predicted.
On the other hand, the country's economy – with an unemployment rate that is the highest in the world according to Bloomberg – is on a knife-edge and the extent of the damage is immeasurable if poverty, famine and the lack of basic necessities for survival are taken into account.
More than 9,1 million young people between the ages of 15 and 34 years are unemployed, do not attend school and are not busy with further education or any form of training. That makes up nearly half of the 20 million South Africans who fall in this age group (Centre for Development and Enterprise).
The latest figures released by Statistics South Africa (August 2021) indicate that the unemployment rate has increased to 34,4%, compared to 32,6% in the previous quarter. That figure is representative of approximately 600 000 people.
In contrast to other countries with stronger economies, the growing number of unemployed citizens in the country are the real victims, the real tragedy, of Covid-19 in South Africa. The millions of youths who are without jobs and without hope can be compared to a volcano erupting, as is clearly evident in the country's sharp rise in crime statistics as well.
One way to turn this around is to immediately do away with any form of restrictions on the economy. That is a short-term solution. In the long term, the country's voters must get rid of the ANC so that the economy can be rebuilt.
If that does not happen, a volcano of violence, driven by famine and poverty, will erupt in the country; one that will completely overshadow the riots and anarchy of July.
Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, 1 October 2021