Lockdown: A quarter of South Africans have no money for food - survey

Diepsloot residents queue for food parcels. (Photo by Gallo Images Sharon Seretlo)
Diepsloot residents queue for food parcels. (Photo by Gallo Images Sharon Seretlo)

The majority of people responding to a survey by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) believe that the national lockdown will impact on their financial security.

Between 45% and 63% of people reported that the lockdown would make it difficult to pay bills, debts, earn income, feed their families and keep their jobs.

Additionally, 26% of people reported that they had no money for food, announced Priscilla Reddy, extraordinary professor at the HSRC, in a presentation of the findings on Sunday.

More than half (55%) of informal settlement residents had no money for food and, about two-thirds of residents from townships, also had no money for food, the survey found.

In addition, over 20% of people from informal settlements and rural areas said their chronic medication was inaccessible during lockdown.

The survey was carried out between 7 April and 16 April and over 19 000 respondents participated. Of those, 36% were unemployed and 10% had informal or part-time work. The survey set out to understand what South Africans know, and how they are reacting to, the Covid-19 emergency.

The survey found that South Africans have largely adhered to national lockdown regulations, with the results showing that 99% of respondents either left their homes for food, medicine and social grants or stayed at home.

However, of those who did leave home, 29% reported that they came into close contact with 10 or more people. In addition, of those who left their homes, 15% had to use public transport to get to the shops.

In addition, South Africans demonstrated a low risk perception of the virus, with one in two people believing they were at low risk of contracting the virus, and only one in five people believing they were at high risk of infection.

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