COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa has exposed economic inequalities

The COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa has exposed economic inequalities and has left the majority of the country’s population frustrated as the future looks increasingly uncertain.

Many families are struggling to put food on the table as the coronavirus lockdown robs them of their source of income. Due to the lack of resources to prepare and protect against the coronavirus, the poor face a higher risk of contracting and subsequently spreading the virus.

The lockdown has affected different people differently. Some have been plunged into poverty, while others have been rescued by Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants which are not enough for people to live on. Some have seen their dreams of successful businesses shattered. Many have to fall back on that familiar South African last resort – the extended family.

Vernac News spoke to: Jeff Mathabela, a hairdresser, who said since the lockdown was introduced it’s been difficult for her to make the ends meet, particularly putting food on the table, because she doesn’t have a source of income. She said that the past three months have been tough for her.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said that COVID-19 had exposed the deeper challenge the country was still facing to take better care of the poor.

The financial hardship among poor families threatens to roll back years of progress in reducing poverty and to leave children deprived of essential services. The rich may be safe, but the poor will once again be subject to unending suffering.

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