A new poll from McKinsey & Company shows how South Africans have struggled financially during the country’s stringent lockdown period.
South Africa moved to Level 4 of the national lockdown on 1 May, with all agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing and related services – including the export of agricultural products – permitted to operate.
This allowed at least 1.5 million workers to return to their jobs. It is unclear when the government expects to move to level 3, and is dependent on the Covid-19 infection rate.
Data collected by McKinsey & Company from 21 to 24 April 2020, shows that the vast majority of South Africans, at 89%, believe that personal and financial implications of Covid-19 will last beyond two months, whilst 22% believe it will last for more than a year.
More than 60% of South Africans said they have experienced a loss of income during the crisis and expect to cut back aggressively on spending in all categories except groceries and home entertainment, with 65% refraining from making purchases they would otherwise make, due to uncertainty about the economy.
More than half of respondents said their job feels less secure because of the coronavirus pandemic, while 62% said their income has been negatively affected.
Neil Roets, chief executive of Debt Rescue, said that the company has seen a significant increase in enquiries for debt counselling since the implementation of lockdown.
“There was an uptick at the beginning of lockdown at Level 5 (27 May), but has increased notably as we approached the move to Level 4 and even more so since we have entered Level 4.
“There are still many consumers that are very uncertain regarding their job security and salaries, due the massive economic impact of the lockdown on businesses and subsequently employees,” he said.
Consumers are feeling the financial impact