South Africa: Lockdown Easing - Picking the Winners and Losers

South Africa phasing in some amendments to lockdown, while keeping others in place

You can't impose a nationwide lockdown at the flick of a switch, and you can't lift one at the flick of a switch either. There are going to be winners and losers as the restrictions are gradually lifted.

Just before the stroke of midnight on 30 April, the lockdown may be relaxed, but as Minister of Cooperative Governance Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Thursday, 16 April, the "floodgates cannot just open".

Yet a trickle has already started, and many economic players would like to see it pick up into a faster flow in coming weeks. Some of the players are still treading water in the dam, waiting for the floodgates to open as lost income and revenue gush from their pockets and balance sheets.

Government is clearly not taking chances, and it remains to be seen how the Cabinet will plot the way forward. There must be divisions, and like South Africa's graphic disparities, they may be thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic. Still, a measured relaxation is no doubt informed by the best scientific and medical advice government has at its disposal. Mortality levels so far seem to indicate the pandemic is relatively contained in South Africa, but it...

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