SA loosens lockdown to revive economy

Mines and factories can run at full capacity

03 June 2020 | International

Kurt Moore, head of the South Africa Liquor Brand Owners’ Association: "There will be an initial spike but it will go back ... to normal."

South Africa sought to revive its stuttering economy on Monday with a partial lifting of its coronavirus lockdown, letting people out for work, worship or shopping, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was praised when he ordered a strict lockdown at the end of March, but the measures have battered Africa's most industrialised economy, which was already in recession before the outbreak.

South Africa's central bank expects the economy, which has also been hard hit by the impact of power cuts at crisis-hit state energy firm Eskom, to contract 7% this year.

But moving to "level 3" lockdown so soon has been questioned by some who say it will increase the number of coronavirus cases, which jumped above 30 000 over the weekend.

"We are taking a gradual approach, guided by the advice of our scientists and led by the realities on the ground," Ramaphosa said in a statement.

The rand rose against the dollar but after midday it had fallen back slightly and was trading just 0.14% up.

South Africa has so far had fewer than 700 coronavirus deaths. Many more South Africans, half of whom live below the official poverty line, are at risk from hunger because of the shutdown and industry officials said the outlook remained bleak.

Although schools were ordered to open on Monday for some pupils, unions urged staff to stay away, saying schools were not properly equipped. The education ministry backed down on Sunday and pupils will now return the week after next. Teachers will come in this week for training and protective gear. Education Minister Angie Motshekga apologised for the last-minute U-turn at a press conference on Monday.

"The reopening was a real uphill ... We have lost a whole term and we are likely to lose more time because of the virus," she said.

In a hopeful sign, the Absa Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a closely watched indicator of manufacturing activity, showed a slight recovery in May, rising to 50.2 points, from 46.1 points in April.

But Philippa Rodseth, executive director of the Manufacturing Circle, said she expected high demand "first and foremost in medical textiles ... and PPE (personal protective equipment)", not for other goods.

Restaurants were relieved at being allowed to offer collections and takeaways, instead of just delivery. Eating in remains banned.

"Adding drive-through and collections/takeaway will have a massively positive affect on our business ... and the industry as a whole," a spokesman for McDonald's South Africa said, adding that 80% of their restaurants will open and about two thirds of staff will return.

For alcoholic drinks shops, which are now allowed to open in limited hours after a total ban, Kurt Moore, head of the South Africa Liquor Brand Owners’ Association, predicted: "There will be an initial spike but it will go back ... to normal". He said 117 000 jobs had been lost.

Standard Bank, Africa's largest by assets, said it expected half-year earnings to fall 20% on the same period a year ago.

(NAMPA / REUTERS)

Similar News

 

Biden names Harris as running mate

2 days ago - 13 August 2020 | International

NAMPA/PTI WASHINGTON Joe Biden has picked Indian-origin senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, recognising the crucial role black voters and Indian-Americans...

Duterte to be 'guinea pig' for Russian vaccine

2 days ago - 13 August 2020 | International

NAMPA/AFPMANILAPhilippine president Rodrigo Duterte will be a guinea pig for a controversial Russian coronavirus vaccine, his spokesman said yesterday, as the Southeast Asian nation emerged...

PDM condemns violence in Zimbabwe

1 week ago - 05 August 2020 | International

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKNamibia's official opposition, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), has called on the African Union to intervene in the political stalemate in Zimbabwe.PDM leader McHenry...

Kenyan candidate favourite to land WTO top job

1 week ago - 04 August 2020 | International

THOMPSON KANYETUA former Kenyan minister of foreign affairs, Dr Amina Mohamed, could become Africa’s first head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).Mohamed (58) is hailed...

Mlangeni was a revolutionary – Ekandjo

3 weeks ago - 23 July 2020 | International

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEK Former anti-apartheid activist and Robben Island prisoner Jerry Ekandjo described fallen South African politician Andrew Mlangeni as a true revolutionary.Mlangeni was the last...

Farm killings surge across SA

1 month - 08 July 2020 | International

KAILENE PILLAY AND LYSE COMINSDURBANA new spate of farm murders has hit South Africa, prompting urgent calls for the government to curb the surge exacerbated...

SA breaches 200 000 coronavirus cases

1 month - 08 July 2020 | International

KYLE COWANJOHANNESBURGSince 27 March, 3 310 South Africans have died after contracting Covid-19. It took 102 days for the country to record 100 000 cases,...

Zuma's 2013 pledge still not fulfilled

1 month - 06 July 2020 | International

ILENI NANDJATOONGWEDIVAThe N$100 million drought aid offered to Namibia by former South African president Jacob Zuma in 2013 still has not fully materialised.The first phase...

Namibia improves on peace index

1 month - 25 June 2020 | International

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKNamibia has moved up eight places on the Global Peace Index for 2020, making it one of the ten most peaceful countries in sub-Saharan...

SA loosens lockdown to revive economy

2 months ago - 03 June 2020 | International

South Africa sought to revive its stuttering economy on Monday with a partial lifting of its coronavirus lockdown, letting people out for work, worship or...

Latest News

Thought leadership

1 day - 14 August 2020 | People

NDANGI KATOMAIn a very short time, the coronavirus has changed so much about our lives.It is easy to think you’ll never get ahead when you...

Marketing through the lens of...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | People

ESTER KAMATIAs part of the DOLOLO group of entrepreneurs and a 2019 alumnus of the Africa Pathfinders Leadership initiative, Andreas Elifas’s objective is to attain...

Price monster hungry

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Economics

Although annual overall inflation in Namibia last month stayed unchanged at 2.1%, annual overall food inflation increased to 6.2% - up from 4.9% in June...

Tough times for mines in...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Of the 16 operating mining companies included in the latest annual review of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, six last year...

Fishing quota auction storm grows

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKGovernment's decision to auction off its fishing quota, and then use the proceeds to finance its efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic is continuing...

Samherji begs for release of...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKIcelandic firm Samherji, which is at the centre of the Fishrot bribery scandal, has asked Namibian authorities to release its fishing vessel Heinaste, which...

Education kneecapped by shortage of...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Education

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUEducation minister Anna Nghipondoka says Namibia has a backlog of over 5 000 classrooms, which has made it a challenge to comply with the...

Growing hip-hop in the north

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Art and Entertainment

MICHAEL KAYUNDE WINDHOEKSkipper Wills' breakthrough came in 2017 when he was selected to take part in the Old & New hip-hop documentary. He has since...

Kay-Z Bearens on his 2020...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Art and Entertainment

MICHAEL KAYUNDE WINDHOEK Rapper Kay-Z Bearens released his first single in 2015, and though on the underground scene, he's pushed his music over the years.In...

Load More