Gauteng Premier David Makhura has warned that half a million jobs could be lost in Gauteng province alone due to Coronavirus. The Gauteng Provincial Command Council held a media briefing on Thursday where Makhura detailed measures undertaken to fight Covid1-19 in South Africa’s economic hub.
Makhura said as a best-case scenario around 250,000 jobs could be lost in Gauteng due to Covid-19.
“We looked at the best-case scenario, even in the best-case scenario there will be jobs lost. So in the best-case scenario for our provincial economy, there will be 250,000 jobs lost and we say to you that is the best-case scenario,” said Makhura
Meanwhile in the worst-case scenario he said between 500,000 and 600,000 jobs will be lost.
“It means that the best-case scenario is not so good itself. So, job losses are inevitable,” said Makhura.
According to Makhura in the worst-case scenario, Covid-19 would see the food and beverages sector in the province contract by 6.6% and in the best-case scenario by 6%. In the worst-case scenario, Covid-19 would see the wholesale and retail sector in the province contract by 5% while in the best-case scenario by 3%.
“We are giving this to you to show that every sector in the economy is going to contract,” said Makhura.
He added that while mainstream businesses in the province would be assisted with accessing the relief funds budgeted by the national department. The provincial government would focus on helping SMMEs in Gauteng. He further said that the provincial government would take in response to the impact Covid-19 will have on the Gauteng economy.
“This include continuing to enable SMMES, in particular, businesses in townships to access the markets. This also include provincial government departments procuring products in high demand during the Covid-19 pandemic,”
“such as sanitisers and personal protective equipment (PPE), from locally based producers, where possible. So this issue of access to the markets is very, very important,” said Makhura.
He encouraged advanced manufacturers in the province to also produce equipment that is in demand during this period, such as ventilators. Makhura also said that another measure that the provincial government would take is ensuring that SMMEs have access to finance.