WATCH | 'Lockdown may be worse than the pandemic' - Coronation's ​Thys du Toit

Fund manager Thys du Toit has joined the chorus of commentators who believe starvation, social unrest and crime brought on by the lockdown will damage the economy more than Covid-19.
Fund manager Thys du Toit has joined the chorus of commentators who believe starvation, social unrest and crime brought on by the lockdown will damage the economy more than Covid-19.
Image: Kevin Sutherland

​Thys du Toit, one of the founders of Coronation Fund Managers, has joined the chorus of appeals for President Cyril Ramaphosa to reopen the economy for businesses which are struggling to survive.

Du Toit, who is also chair of Rootstock Asset Management, said in a video address that the effects of the lockdown may be worse than the pandemic itself.

“We need to open the economy as soon as possible,” he said. “We are going to see lots of lives that will be lost but I believe starvation, social unrest and crime, and myriad other chronic diseases are going to damage the economy more,” Du Toit said.

On April 30, Du Toit hosted an online discussion on Covid-19, which included an ardent appeal to Ramaphosa to consider reopening and jump-starting the economy through meaningful reform.

The government needed to stop funding loss-making government enterprises, said Du Toit, and cut the public sector wage bill and corporate taxes.

Du Toit congratulated the government for its swift and decisive reaction to the pandemic, saying “in my lifetime I have not seen a harder working cabinet”.

“The lockdown is causing severe damage to what is left of a fragile economy and our wellbeing. Our livelihoods depend on whether we can get the economy to recover,” said Du Toit.

Only businesses could create jobs and wealth, while civil servants continued to be paid, even as tax revenue declines, Du Toit said.

Du Toit’s appeal comes as a number of other businesses called for restrictions to be eased, including Takealot CEO Kim Reid and OneDayOnly director Laurian Venter, who have criticised restrictions on goods sold online.

Business for SA (B4SA), which is made up of Business Unity SA and the Black Business Council, has also advocated the reopening of the high-value economic sectors as soon as possible.

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