- President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed SA over the economic fallout from the Covid-19 lockdown
- Jobs are being lost and businesses are closing down across the world where lockdowns were imposed
- However, Ramaphosa has urged the nation to buckle down and fight on in the hopes of a better future
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President Cyril Ramaphosa says that South Africa's economy is in the throes of the fallout from closing the economy down for the past 100 days.
Businesses are closing down and a number of companies are letting employees go, explained Ramaphosa:
"Last week a number of companies announced plans to retrench staff. From aviation to construction, from entertainment and leisure to hospitality, companies have indicated their intention to retrench staff because of heavy losses incurred over the past three months.
"In other cases, businesses are closing permanently. Small businesses whose turnover has been wiped out will be even harder hit."
Ramaphosa says that SA is 'keenly aware' of the consequences of closing the economy in a bid to save lives, pointing out that this is a global issue amid the pandemic:
"South Africa is not alone. In Italy, the UK, the US, Germany, India, China and nearly every country that had imposed some form of lockdown, jobs have been lost or hours of workers reduced. It is being spoken of as a ‘job loss tsunami’."
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Ramaphosa noted that predictions estimated that around 305 million jobs would be lost around the world, the informal economy would see 1.6 billion people at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Briefly.co.za reported that South Africa was already facing an unemployment crisis before the outbreak and Ramaphosa called for care to be taken:
"For a country such as ours, which was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, difficult decisions and difficult days lie ahead. We would urge that the difficult decisions to be taken are taken with care and with due regard to balancing the sustainability of companies and the livelihoods of workers. It is important that whatever is done is underpinned by ensuring a just transition to all concerned."
The president made it clear that the road ahead would be long and hard for the nation:
"There are tough times ahead. There are no quick-fixes and we have to be realistic about our prospects, especially about the time it will take for our economy to recover. Even the advanced economies will contract substantially because of Covid-19 and it will take a long time for economic output to return to pre-pandemic levels."
But Ramaphosa urged the country to remain optimistic in the face of these hardships:
"We will keep trying, because we understand that despite the hardship it has caused, the lockdown was necessary and has saved lives. No price can be put on human life. Let us put shoulder to the wheel and turn this adversity into opportunity. Let us reimagine and repurpose our economy and put it firmly on a solid and sustainable path."
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