South Africa eases lockdown restrictions

South Africa
Published:  20 April, 2020

On April 16, South Africa extended its nationwide lockdown for a further two weeks, but announced the easing of lockdown restrictions for some segments in the logistics, retail, services, mining and energy sectors.

Due to the pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now projects that South African gross domestic product (GDP) will contract by 5.8% in 2020, while the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) projects a 6.1% contraction. Analysts from NKC African Economics estimate the national consumer spending to contract by US$7.5 billion this year due to the two-week extension of the country’s lockdown, representing a reduction in per capita consumption of around US$125. Taking into account the five-week lockdown, consumer spending is forecast at US$186 billion this year, down 7.1% over 2019.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Footwear and Leather Industries Cluster (FLIC) has proposed a list of recommended preventative measures and procedures that manufacturers will need to follow once the industry is allowed to re-open. These include disinfecting and sanitising the premises, temperature checks upon employees’ arrival, wearing appropriate protection masks, frequent hand washing, avoidance of group gatherings and minimum social distance criteria at the work space.

“When the current lockdown is eventually behind us and the green light has been given by the South African Government, along with the health department, that it is safe to return to work, our industry will be able to do so, but along with a lot of new measures and controls in place, based on learnings from China”, said FLIC in a statement, adding that disregarding any of the recommended protocols could be deemed as a serious offence. “These regulations are put in place to protect, not punish.”

Source: CNBC