Lockdown, not just a health issue but a livelihood concern

by Tshepo Mmusi…Lock down in Klerksdorp areas is taken seriously as we see the streets of the township not flooded by people doing rounds. The streets are clear of people and one can only notice police vehicles monitoring the situation but at certain times children gather in small numbers to play in street corners and as police and military vehicles approache they rush to their homes. Churches were closed during the Easter weekend and usual festivities were not conducted as everyone is indoors.

The lock down has its negative impacts though, because many people’s livelihoods have been interrupted. Workers in the Klerksdorp industrial site have not been working since the commissioning of the lock down and it’s extension has made their situation even worse as many fear that they will not receive their wages. I spoke to one of the factory workers by the name of Matlhomola Manoto who indicated that at their company a “No work no pay” principle will apply if they are not working as their company depends on production. As it is, he has not received any payment since the commencement of the lock down. Street vendors, people depending on recycling materials are not spurred either because they are not allowed to sell their products as recycling companies are closed so there is no market for them.

In the ward where I live, Ward 11, there is a list that has been developed identifying people or households which should benefit from the food parcels, now it is said that it has a bias towards unemployed people and impoverished households. The question is what about the people who are like Matlhomola Manoto, who are employed and not getting paid due to lockdown? The Minister of Employment and Labour advised companies to apply for UIF funds on behalf of their employees so that they can benefit during this period, the question again is where is this holding up? People’s lives are at stake, they are not allowed to go out and fend for themselves as they are used to and government interventions are moving at a snail pace.

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