In Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s adjusted budget speech, he announced that the economy is expected to contract by as much as 7% – an alarming figure which sets a dismal tone for the soaring unemployment rate.
This comes after several of SA’s large corporates including SAA, Edcon, SABC and Cell C among others had already announced plans for massive reductions in headcount, despite the recent regulations allowing for more economic activity.
Karl Muller, the Operations Manager of The Tiger Brands Foundation which feeds 74 455 learners in more than 100 underprivileged schools, predicts that we are going to see a dramatic increase in the number of people who will be pushed into a state of poverty and food insecurity in the not too distant future.
A recent study conducted by Stats-SA revealed that the percentage of respondents who reported receiving no income increased from 5,2% before the lockdown to 15,4% by the sixth week of the national lockdown.
Although the study also showed that many of those respondents indicated that their income drop was offset by income from other sources including UIF and personal savings.
“We need to anticipate a South Africa where food insecurity is going to become exaggerated and we need to start planning for that reality today. It is time for South Africans to pull our resources together and be ready to respond to what might end up being a humanitarian crisis,” urges Muller.
Muller says in-school nutrition programmes will become more vital as the economy takes more strain and he urges companies and individuals to continue to play their part in ensuring that children do not go hungry by continuing to support in-school nutrition programmes as learners return to the classroom.