No-work, no-pay workers on how they’ll cope with less income after lockdown

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Construction worker. (GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES).
Construction worker. (GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES).

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone in one way or another. For Bhekisipho Mthembu, it has hit him hard in the pocket.

The construction worker tells Move! that the lockdown has him wondering how he will recover after spending 21 days without an income.

The 35-year-old father of two says life is hard now and will be even harder after the lockdown.

Read more: Lockdown: spaza shops and informal traders are free to trade

“I was paid last month and won’t be paid my full salary for April because I didn’t work two whole weeks. It’s going to take me a while to recover from this financial blow. I don’t earn that much and if I get paid this month, it won’t be able to cover half of what it usually does,” he says.

The Sowetan is pleading with people to obey the law so we can overcome this virus soon. He says he heard on the news that shop owners can trade and is glad for that. However, since he’s a builder, he knows his job is not an essential service.

“My girlfriend can now go sell her vegetables. We were worried about her stock getting rotten. We were not just going to lose the stock, we were going to lose our livelihood. She can now bring home whatever little she can so we can sustain ourselves. Kids are not at school and they eat a lot,” he tells us.

He says he can barely wait to go back to work because sitting at home and doing nothing is driving him mad.

Bhekisipho is not the only one who wants to go back to work so he can make up for lost time.

Shop assistant Thato Radebe says this lockdown has hit him hard in the pocket as well.

Read more: How I buried my aunt during the coronavirus outbreak

“I work for a clothing shop in Joburg CBD at Carlton Centre and we had to close shop. I get paid when I work and when I don’t, I’m not getting paid. We have two weeks left with this lockdown. I want to go to work as I’m the breadwinner. My father is currently in hospital fighting for his life. My family depends on me financially,” he says.

The 28-year-old adds that he must give his mother money daily to go see his father in hospital. He says life is just a steep climb for him right now. Thato suspects it will get worse after the lockdown because he won’t get a full salary since he’s been out of work for two weeks.

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