Labour Expert from Mabhala Consulting, Bukani Mngoma, says people may lose jobs after the COVID-19 disaster as employers may want to re-organise operations. He says the 21-day lockdown is giving employers lessons on who is essential an part of the team and who is not.

In some companies essential services workers have kept companies going while the rest of the staff are at home during the 21-day national lockdown.

Mngoma says COVID-19 has many lessons for both employers and employees.

“You may find that employers may readjust the need to actually work from work and instead, they may say let them continue to work from home. So, there is a possibility that for some employers this has presented them with a real life study in terms of whether they really need the numbers of employees that they currently have and which may have an implication for retrenchment should they find that they have been working with staff which is in excess of what is needed.”

Employers warned against acting in bad faith 

On Tuesday, Labour Mininster Thulas Nxesi has expressed concern that some employers are forcing employees to take unpaid leave during the 21-days lockdown.

Nxesi has called upon employers to act in a manner that promotes social solidarity and not to shift the burden of the lockdown to employees . He has also said that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) cannot deal with the millions of indivual claims that are expected.

“It is important though that all parties understand that the UIF cannot deal with the millions of individual claims, which will just come at the same period. This will lead to delays in the processing of such claims, rather. We have put in place systems to pay out UIF benefits through the companies, sectoral associations and bargaining councils.”

In the video below, Ministers including Thulas Nxesi brief the media on the impact of coronavirus epidemic on their portfolios: 

South Africa’s economy

In March, the government announced measures to support the economy during lockdown.

Five hundred million was set aside immediately to assist small businesses.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced the setup of a Solidarity Fund aimed to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Despite some of these measures that were announced, the economy was dealt a blow when Moody’s downgraded it to junk status which  spells disaster for job creation and preservation.

In the video below, Tourism Lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology discusses the impact of Moody’s downgrade on SA’s economy: