Lockdown | Informal settlement dwellers feel the pinch as 2-week extension kicks in

2020-04-16 08:49
(Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Vathiswa Ruselo)

(Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Vathiswa Ruselo)

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Residents of the Lenasia South informal settlement in Johannesburg say they are worried what impact the extended lockdown will have on their pockets. 

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Many said they did not know where their next salary would come from, adding they feared their cupboards would soon be empty. 

Some residents, who spoke to News24 on Wednesday, said they last received their monthly or weekly payments in the first phase of the lockdown before President Cyril Ramaphosa added an extra 14 days.

The initial lockdown, which was put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19, was meant to end on 16 April. It is now expected to come to an end on 30 April.

Sleepless nights

Richard Novela, who is employed at a pie-making company, said he was worried about where his family of eight would get their next meal from should his employers not pay him.

"This is giving me sleepless nights. I don't know if I will be paid or not this month. I am hoping that my company consider us as employees and give us something to attend to bread and butter issues.

"All along, I was pinning my hopes that come 17 April, we will return to work. However, that hope has been extended and we now have to wait for another fortnight before returning to work," said Novela.

READ | Critical week ahead to measure impact of lockdown- Prof Salim Abdool-Karim

He is concerned the lockdown could be extended further as he has observed people ignoring the regulations.

"The president is not playing. He is going to extend the lockdown because there are others who don't want to behave and observe the lockdown. The extensions of the lockdown are affecting everybody rich and poor and we at the bottom are being severely affected," Novela said.

Fernando Ngulele echoed his sentiments.

"People must stay indoors in order for the virus not to spread. Those roaming the streets will result in bad ramifications where many would lose their jobs because of the continuously extended lockdown."

Ngulele runs a hair salon which he claimed was visited by more than 30 clients per day.

"This lockdown has left me, my wife and two children hungry. I am the breadwinner at home and with this lockdown we have been left with empty stomachs. We survive on handouts and we can't rely on that forever," he said.

Pleading to behave

Construction worker David Makulule said he had been home for 20 days since the lockdown was implemented.

"Who is going to allow us to work in their homes or companies during the lockdown. We have been barred from moving around to obey the regulations. Today, my family is hungry because I can't provide for them.

"We are pleading with people to behave so the lockdown could end. I don't rely on a social grant and I am not a beneficiary nor is my family. We are in trouble and we don't know where our next meal will come from.

"For now, I have some few savings left and I am worried if my coffers run dry who will feed us," he said.

Sello Mofokeng, who had just secured employment at a tyre-fitting company, said he last received a salary a fortnight ago.

He said since then he was surviving on his mother's mercy.

"My mother is a pensioner and has brought food for us to eat. I don't know what would have happened if she was not around.

"This lockdown is serious and is being mainly felt by us who are employed. We are worried about the future of our jobs and families that we feed at home," Mofokeng said.  


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Read more on:    johannesburg  |  coronavirus
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