On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a raft of interventions to try and cushion the blow of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Tax incentives, financial aid to small business and other measures to keep business buoyant, the markets moving and putting money in the pockets of ordinary South Africans came as the global economy was being ravaged.
In Europe, Germany is pumping more than $800-billion into its economy; in Britain the Exchequer has injected more than $400-billion and in the United States a rescue package of $2-trillion was approved by Congress.
South Africa’s fiscal position is dire and the government is in no position to do something even remotely similar.
Our revenue streams have been depleted, while expenditure has over the past couple of years ballooned beyond what we can afford.
It’s clear that not only our way of living will be affected by Covid-19, but the way in which the economy functions, too.
In this week’s edition of the Friday Briefing, economist Thabi Leoka argues that now is the time for the private sector to step up and help government to limit the damage.
“The decision to contain the virus by reducing economic activity will slow the progression of the virus and reduce the infection rate, but it will also impose a high economic cost. The human cost of not doing anything, however, will be far greater,” she says.
Also, look out for political scientist Phumlani M. Majozi’s piece about borders in the time of the virus, and academics Sean Gossel and Athol Williams look at what the lockdown might mean for social cohesion.
Enjoy the reads – and stay at home!
Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor: In-depth News
The decision to contain the virus by reducing economic activity will slow the progression of the virus and reduce the infection rate, but it will also impose a greater economic cost, writes Thabi Leoka
(But) immigration is crucial for every nation’s prosperity. South Africa needs immigrants to bolster innovation and to address the skills shortages it’s battling with, writes Phumlani M. Majozi
A national disaster declared on top of a technical recession and a stand-off between the ANC and its alliance partners means that we can expect the SA economy will remain in a downward cycle for the foreseeable future – our only hope lies in building social cohesion in the face of crisis, writes Sean Gossel and Athol Williams