Lockdown | One year on

Saturday marks exactly a year since President Cyril Ramaphosa effected the Covid-19-enforced national lockdown; and since then a trail of economic devastation and jobs bloodbath continue to haunt many South Africans.

When Ramaphosa announced the initial 21-day lockdown, SA's Covid-19 infections had spiked from 61 to 402 in a space of eight days and a drastic intervention was urgently needed.

“While this measure will have a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods, on the life of our society and on our economy, the human cost of delaying this action would be far, far greater,” he said at the time.

Life has not been the same for a 35-year-old man who was retrenched during lockdown and could no longer afford to pay the monthly R1,000 to keep his son at a boarding school.

The father from Engcobo in the Eastern Cape was one of millions of South Africans who lost their jobs when the Covid-19 pandemic forced countries to impose lockdowns due to an increasing numbers of cases. He asked not be to be identified to protect his 14-year-old son, a grade 9 pupil.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the country’s first hard lockdown, a pastor had to rely on handouts and a reprieve on his rent to survive, while a salon owner was forced to retrench all her 29 employees and close her two salons.

The restrictions brought upon by the lockdown regulations forced many small business owners to rethink their business models in order to keep making a living.

For Mathews Baloyi and thousands of entrepreneurs in the events organisation space, the lockdown presented a nightmare.

A cook-off challenge between friends to get rid of the lockdown boredom has given a Joburg couple a new lease on life with a thriving baking business.

When level 5 lockdown was introduced in the country to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Kabelo Molepo was looking for employment after he had lost his job at a big retail company.

Molepo, 32, and his partner Poppy Louw, 34, realised that getting a job would be difficult during the lockdown as most businesses were not operating and also retrenching.

Sonja Le Roux, a bus company owner, is worried that the anticipated third wave of the Covid-19 that is expected in winter will put her out of business.

Her fleet of 18 coaches is already gathering dust at her business offices in Midrand while her monthly income has plummeted from about R1,5m to about R100,000. The low income forced her to release all her employees and her son, a student, has to chip in as a driver.

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