Business for South Africa (B4SA), the alliance of volunteers formed to support the national response to COVID-19, has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement about the easing of certain restrictions, which bolsters the much-needed efforts to boost and stimulate economic activity.
However, B4SA has highlighted the importance for South Africa’s economic recovery to implement infrastructure projects, as soon as possible, to boost economic growth and job creation. This imperative has become more abundantly clear following today’s release of Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the third quarter of 2020. Quarter on quarter, the survey recorded a 7.5% increase in the number of unemployed people, which is the highest rate recorded since the start of the QLFS in 2008. Expanded unemployment has reached its highest ever level of 43.1% demonstrating the need for the country to urgently pivot onto a sustainable inclusive growth trajectory.
B4SA is advancing the numerous activities outlined in its Economic Recovery Strategy and remains committed to supporting the President’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Many parts of South Africa’s economy still remain extremely constrained and are contributing far less than their potential. The resumption of international travel for business and leisure purposes, as well as the resumption of full trading for the alcohol industry is a welcome and critical relief to those sectors. Easing the alcohol and international travel restrictions will ensure that these sectors can continue their respective rebuilding efforts and enhance the role that they can play in the revival of the country’s economy.
Martin Kingston, B4SA’s Steering Committee Chairman, said: “It is important that the immediate threat of entering into a higher lockdown level has now been removed. We fully understand the threat remains. However, business needs this certainty to ensure a return to some form of normality, albeit in a COVID environment, as quickly as possible.”
B4SA also fully supports the President’s stance in reminding the nation that it is critical for every individual to maintain good hygiene habits, practice social distancing and wear a mask wherever necessary, including while out in public. Kingston also echoed the President’s request and encouraged all South Africans to: “Download the COVID Alert SA app. We encourage all South African’s to download the application, which will assist in making the virus more visible and as well as breaking the chain of transmission.”