The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns hit Gauteng hard, forcing households to adjust.
This is one of the observations made by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) Quality of Life Survey 2020-21.
GCRO is a partnership between the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the organized local government in the province. It is one of the largest and longest-running social surveys in South Africa and is conducted every two years in the form of face-to-face interviews.
The last survey included a sample size of 13,616 people. The field research for the survey included space from October 2020 to May 2021.
One of the key findings of the survey is that the economic impact of the pandemic has been extreme job losses.
The survey found that 18% of respondents had lost their jobs and one in ten respondents who owned a business before March 2020 was forced to shut down.
It was also found that grants and social assistance have provided crucial protection for the most vulnerable.
Black Africans and low to middle income households are hardest hit.
To understand some of the economic impact of the pandemic, asked n the researchers asked the respondents whether they had lost their job since March 2020, r their salary or working hours were reduced, a business was permanently closed or their apartment was evicted.
Only 0.4% of the respondents stated to have been evicted from her apartment since March 2020. Although that number was shockingly low, the researchers said in a report on the survey results that they have no data to directly compare whether they were lower or higher than pre-pandemic levels.
In comparison, the impact on jobs, companies and salaries and working hours were much more important.
“Almost a fifth of respondents (18%) who previously had a job said they had lost their job since March 2020 This is not to say that these respondents have all remained out of work.
“Of those who have lost their jobs since March 2020, a third (34%) say they are currently employed But of those who have lost their jobs and are currently inactive, 87% say they are unemployed and looking for work. ”
The report says that job loss patterns vary significantly across the population differ, although all populations ng groups were affected.
“Around 12% of the white respondents lost their jobs, compared with 19% for black Africans, 20% for blacks and 20% for Indians / Asians.”
The Survey found that 30% of those with the lowest income lost a job compared to 6% in the highest income group.
It was also observed that one in 10 respondents who saw one company before March 2020 that their businesses were being forced to close due to the pandemic. “Here, too, the numbers differ significantly depending on the population group. Only 5% of white respondents say their shops are permanently closed, compared to 10% of Black Africans and 16% of Indians / Asians. “
The survey found that 11% of the Respondents in the lowest two cases were The monthly income brackets of households (R1-R800 and R801-R3.200) have closed their shops permanently, compared to only 4% in the highest income bracket.
“‘However, may It cannot be said definitively whether this correlation is because business closings forced households into poverty or whether lower-end, vital businesses that provide meager income to their owners had a disproportionate impact. “
According to the results, an exceptional – third of respondents (30%) who were employed said their salary and working hours had been reduced since March 2020.
“Interestingly, the proportion of respondents varies who have experienced a reduction in working hours and wages, minimally by population group or income group, albeit slightly higher for whites at 34% than for black Africans and Indians / Asians at 29%.
“This could indicate this that white respondents may have been relatively better protected from job losses than black Africans and Indians / Asians. , but instead working hours and salaries were reduced while jobs were retained. “