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South Africa told to end lockdown soon as economy bleeds jobs

SOUTH AFRICA needs to end a lockdown within weeks or Africa's most industrialised economy could hemorrhage as many as four million jobs and contract by 16 per cent this year, the nation's main business lobby declared

17 May 2020 - 19:00

SOUTH AFRICA needs to end a lockdown within weeks or Africa's most industrialised economy could hemorrhage as many as four million jobs and contract by 16 per cent this year, the nation's main business lobby declared.

The country lacks the financial resources to withstand an extended closure of companies, said Martin Kingston, head of the economic work group at Business for South Africa, which represents the country's biggest business organisations, reports Bloomberg.



The government compelled most businesses to shut on March 27 in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Restrictions were marginally eased on May 1, with a move to so-called Level 4 from 5, and key industries such as mining are only operating at partial capacity.



Borders have been closed except for limited cargo and the number of people queuing for food parcels is growing. A business confidence index hit its lowest level in April since South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry began compiling it in 1985.



'We are not like the European Union, or the US or China, Japan' and can't withstand a drawn-out process, Kingston said. 'We are talking about weeks, not months, to get through the levels. That is what we aspire to as business,' said Mr Kingston.


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