South African communities face poverty and hunger more than ever as the global pandemic continues to worsen across the country. With each devastating wave of the virus in South Africa, more and more people are becoming less economically and financially stable to feed their families. Before the continued recurrence of COVID-19, South Africa had a high food security rate compared to other countries on the African continent. However, they are now scrambling to respond to the looming crisis, which has inherently increased levels of poverty and hunger across the country.
In South Africa, it is estimated that more than three million South Africans have lost their jobs. This has led to a high unemployment rate of 32.6%, which is now considered the highest unemployment rate since the government started collecting quarterly data in 2008. Over the past year, the crisis of COVID-19 has caused many problems for families in terms of testing. provide food for their families.
As South Africa enters the third wave of COVID-19, the challenges affecting its economic stability are even more apparent. In addition to the current COVID-19 crisis, South Africa has experienced civil unrest, leading to looting of shops, burning of trucks and crops, and theft of livestock. As explained by the Durban Chamber of Commerce, “[T]its disruptive activity is detrimental to economic infrastructure; the threat to food security must be taken very seriously. This civil unrest, coupled with the COVID-19 crisis in South Africa, identifies the disruption the economy has faced over the past year and a half.
The levels of poverty and hunger in South Africa pose a great risk to its overall stability. The pandemic has played a big role in increasing food insecurity. There was an emergency aid program for vulnerable people and their families to support them during the pandemic. However, this emergency aid program ended in April. This turned out to be a big deal as there was always a recurrence of diagnoses and cases of COVID-19 leading to more lockdowns. This happened at the same time that food aid to poor households from government, NGOs and community support systems began to decline.
Stable incomes and stable jobs offered in the city are now at an all-time low. It has become much more difficult for people to recover from this crisis. Many people mainly from low-income backgrounds have not only lost loved ones to the pandemic, but their ability to survive during the crisis. It is crucial that emergency intervention and assistance be provided to these people in the townships and informal settlements, who are in poverty. As South Africa is currently experiencing the devastation of the third wave of COVID-19 infections, it is important to provide some kind of humanitarian relief to low-income households. This is crucial as the country is still trying to recover from the many blockages and business closures in the townships that have halted the flow of money and income into the communities.
Overall, the increased levels of poverty and hunger in South Africa are important issues that must be addressed by government officials. Many people, especially those living in informal settlements, are currently facing a cycle of endless crises. The global pandemic has caused major problems for the region in terms of continued death and illness, loss of job stability and increased food insecurity.
The consequences of not tackling the problem of employment and food insecurity have already been demonstrated to the South African government. By ignoring these basic human rights, they are more likely to face more civil unrest. The South African government must listen to the voice of the people and find a solution to this crisis by working with experts and local human rights organizations to provide support to vulnerable communities. Without the support of the South African government to provide emergency aid to poverty stricken areas of the country, it will be much more difficult for individuals and communities to survive the ongoing COVID-19 crises.