Business for Ending Lockdown
The lockdown is causing a humanitarian disaster. As business organisations, representing more than 50 000 members, we demand for the sake of all in South Africa that the government:
- End the lockdown immediately;
- Lift the state of disaster;
- Allow people and organisations to manage their unique risks by converting all Covid-19 regulations into non-compulsory recommendations.
have joined the campaign to end lockdown.
The lockdown is a humanitarian disaster and a grave threat to lives and livelihoods. The harms will far exceed even the most pessimistic Covid-19 scenarios.
Advocates for lockdown failed to consider that the economy is our most important life-support system – shutting it down does grave harm to life, health and human well-being. Forced and sustained lockdowns have fast become one of the biggest threats to the future of the country.
The harmful problems listed below can be mitigated by ending the lockdown immediately.
- Poverty: Hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa risk falling into devastating poverty from which escape will be extremely difficult. The government has insufficient resources to support everyone who needs help – only a restoration of jobs and economic activity can support people and save them from losing hope.
- Lives: Poverty causes more hunger, malnourishment, disease, and social ills which lead to more loss of life. The risk of death and shortened lifespans from lockdown far exceeds the risks associated with Covid-19.
- Jobs: A million to three million jobs are under serious threat. Many jobs may be lost forever. South Africa had an employment crisis before Covid-19 – it simply cannot afford to lose more jobs.
- The Economy: Reasonable estimates foresee declines in economic output of more than 10% for 2020, the largest depression in living memory. The lockdown has damaged years of economic progress, and will continue to do so until it is abolished. Investment plans by large and small companies have been scrapped or greatly reduced, further undermining future growth potential. Ending lockdown improves clarity for companies and will raise investment levels.
- Businesses: Many businesses, small and large, formal and informal, have lost nearly all income over the period. They cannot afford to pay staff, suppliers, and other costs. Some businesses may never open their doors again. Other businesses are being forced to reduce costs and shrink operations to survive. Many are restricted on the products they may sell, harming incomes. The government cannot bail out companies – it must now allow them full freedom to operate and repair the damage already done.
- Other medical consequences: Lockdown leads to disruptions of current treatment and screening programmes (TB, Aids, cancers, and diabetes), increases in psychological disorders, and delays of vital procedures.
- The National Debt: The economic devastation of lockdown has caused a collapse in tax revenue without a reduction in state spending. This means the national debt will rise by around R800 billion this year to over R4 trillion in total. This debt will have to be paid by current and future taxpayers. The government is running out of resources.
About Business for Ending Lockdown
Business for Ending Lockdown is a campaign by business organisations to make the position of businesses in South Africa clear: end lockdown, because it is causing a humanitarian disaster.
It is not a campaign for moving from one level of lockdown to another, or for exceptions to some lockdown rules, or for better explanations from government.