According to Statistics South Africa Quarterly Employment Statistics, (QES) survey South Africa lost more than 648 000 formal SME sector in the second quarter of 2020. That brings to approximately 5 million people who have lost their jobs due to Covid 19 enforced economic complications.
This bleak picture is also confirmed by the National income Dynamic Study (NIDS) and Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM) statistics findings. All these Covid 19 pieces of research have in many ways revealed that the pandemic has led to countless citizens experiencing different mental health, poverty and many other social ills challenges.
In an exclusive interview with JHR, A Plettenberg Bay-based single mother of two, Judi Mutuse revealed Covid 19 economic complications robbed her of a right to earn a living, which lead to her being trapped in poverty suffering from depression.
Prior to Covid 19 enforced lockdown, the 29-year-old was supporting her family through her earnings from her job at a local restaurant but she lost all that when she was retrenched.
”Sadly yes, it is true that I am one of those people who lost their right to earn a living and right to dignity due to Covid 19 enforced economic complications.
By extension, my two kids, who are both under the age are now also exposed to poverty and their basic rights to nutrition are being compromised.”
While explaining how she lost her job, the stranded single mother said “It was a Tuesday morning when our manager called and informed us that the restaurant was going to close down in three days time,”
It is seven months since Mutuse was retrenched. Throughout this tormenting time, Mutuse and her two daughters have been relegated to below par as they only depended on government children social grants.
Groceries finish before month end and now I have to borrow money from mashonisa (loan shark /unregistered money lender), with a huge interest and end up getting half of my children’s grant money at the end of the month because I need to repay them.
At least my children’s paternal family does assist here and there, but it will never be the same as when I’m providing for them” said Mutuse.
Mutuse believes that didn’t just rob her of to right to earn a living or the right to dignity but has in many ways lead her to be depressed.
According to section 10 of the South African constitution Mental Health Care Act, 17 of 2002 intends citizens who are in need of mental health care should not be unfairly discriminated against on the grounds of his or her mental health status.
The bill went on to all mental health care users must receive the same standard of care, treatment and rehabilitation services
I constantly get calls from people demanding their money.
I fear that one they I might even get attacked by a stroke due to over thinking, I’m drowning in depths.
I can’t sleep. I am constantly thinking of where I will find a job again and how I will pay my bills.
According to ambitious mother, government social grant for children is very little while our crippling economy has lead to inflation and economic junk downgrade. All those factors have a serious impact on everyone more especially unemployed single parents.
African Depression & Anxiety Group says Clinical Psychologist, Dessy Tzoneva.shared the same sentiments with Mutuse.
“It’s natural to feel worried and overwhelmed about our safety and wellbeing. So if you’re feeling concerned about the Coronavirus, you’re not alone.
Yet, for some of us, this concern can quickly grow into anxiety, even panic. Hearing about shortages of hand sanitizer, people stocking their homes with food, and the number of deaths worldwide only fuels this fire.” says Clinical Psychologist, Dessy Tzoneva.
This Covid 19 awareness article was produced with the support of Journalists for Human Rights.
By Siphokazi Mnyobe