Zero income and bills piling up: Jozi bartender on lockdown

12 May 2020 - 06:52 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Stress is mounting for many South Africans with no income and bills pilling up. Stock photo.
Stress is mounting for many South Africans with no income and bills pilling up. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Michael Thompson

He's had to borrow money to pay rent. His emotions are all over the place. He just wants things to be normal again.

But with the government implementing strict lockdown regulations, serving alcohol is unlikely to happen any time soon. One Jozi bartender, who chose to remain anonymous, doesn't know what the future will bring. At stake are his livelihood, his home and his mental health.

Here is his story of turmoil and uncertainty.

Missed payments

“I have not been working since the start of the lockdown and with that said, I have not been getting an income from my job,” he told TimesLIVE.

“The lockdown has affected me emotionally because I can't survive and I have bills to pay, have to put food to the table. I have also missed out on payment for my contract phone and a loan that I took out last year because of emergencies.”

He says he's been forced to ask for payment holidays from his bank as he has not had an income since the start of the lockdown

Leaning on his squad for cash

In compliance with the lockdown rules, the full operation of restaurants is prohibited. They are only be allowed to operate for food delivery services between 9am and 8pm.

He says even with a letter from his employer confirming that he has not been getting paid due to not working, his landlord still expects his R3,000 monthly rent to be paid on time.

“I have had to borrow money to pay for rent because landlords want their money. End of this month I have to find another way to come with money for rent and it can't be late because that will just set me back even more.”

A lack of government trust

Struggling to make ends meet as it is, the bartender says he is uncertain what lies in the future. He also expressed doubt about receiving any relief.

“I've been earning the same money for two years with no bonuses. I am not even sure if we are registered for the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The company I work for said they will claim the UIF on our behalves and until now there has been no update.”

For now, he lives in hope that the government will soon lift the ban so that things can go back to “normal”.  But even that hope is fading..