61% of SA lost income due to Covid-19: research

26 August 2020 - 07:00 By Nonkululeko Njilo
A recent survey found that fears about unemployment are higher than fears of contracting Covid-19.
A recent survey found that fears about unemployment are higher than fears of contracting Covid-19.

Five months into the Covid-19 pandemic, financial distress remains a concern among South Africans, with as many as 61% reporting a loss of income.

This is according to the latest research results on the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus conducted by the market research company Ask Afrika.

The survey also found that many people were not as worried about contracting the virus than when it broke out in SA in March.

“Fear of unemployment is now higher than the fear of contracting Covid-19,  even though those two fears are top-of-mind for citizens,” said Ask Afrika CEO Andrea Rademeyer.

In terms of emotional distress, 50% of South Africans were identified as concerned about underlying health conditions.

“In this context, it is especially detrimental that citizens fear going to clinics and hospitals, and many are falling behind with their medication and testing for underlying conditions. Almost certainly a second health crisis is being created during lockdown,” said Rademeyer.

To deal with financial distress, the survey found many people had resorted to borrowing and selling personal assets.

“The survey found 45% of loans taken are below R1,000. Only 12% are more than R3,000. Around 40% of citizens loaning money are not confident about repaying the loans,” Rademeyer said.

The survey's key findings include:

  • The level of food reserves in their homes is a concern for 54% of respondents.
  • Corruption in health care concerns 71% of people.
  • It was found that 69% of respondents believe corruption levels have surged, and 76% believe the political outcry is all talk but no action.
  • Some 77% have lost all hope of corruption being halted. Just over half (52%) believe President Cyril Ramaphosa can curb corruption, and only 47% believe he is taking control to stop it.
  • The majority (81%) of citizens want to see an example being made of those who are corrupt, and believe corruption has distorted the upliftment and development of South Africans.  

“Interestingly, despite very low trust in the police, citizens are still twice as likely to report cases to the police than to whistle-blowing hotlines or Corruption Watch. This indicates a strong prerogative to structurally change the whistle-blowing entities,” said Rademeyer.