30 June 2021
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proclamation of Adjusted Alert Level 4 precautions following a massive surge of new COVID-19 infections.
Level 4 restrictions will undoubtedly reinforce economic hardships already suffered by businesses and workers. FEDUSA would therefore like to appeal to the government to clear any obstacles that may prevent distressed businesses from accessing financial support packages. This is in light of the low take-up level of loan assistance in past hard lockdowns. For example, only about R16 billion worth of loans have so far been extended to distressed businesses out of the R200 billion government COVID-19 loan guarantee scheme. Commercial banks are understood to be quite reluctant to advance any loans to businesses that may need them in the pandemic economic environment. This is despite the generous government loan guarantee scheme of about R180 billion from the initial R200 billion that is still sitting idle.
FEDUSA equally hopes that the government has also ironed out all the bottlenecks and obstacles that resulted in thousands of workers finding it very difficult to access their UIF TERS relief schemes payments – if at all – during past lockdowns.
South Africa has so far vaccinated 2 684 999 people including 50 000 teachers a day since the Basic Education sector roll-out started on 23 June 2021, according to the Department of Health. But widely missed daily targets have become a norm since the national vaccination roll-out kicked off with the Sisonke programme for healthcare workers earlier this year.
Neither the details of how the daily target is set nor the nature of the problems encountered in trying to reach the target has been made public. What is now known with any measure of certainty is that the deadly Delta COVID-19 that has caused a death toll and human suffering of unimaginable proportion in India, is now the dominant variant.
It is for this reason that FEDUSA calls on the government to put its vaccination roll-out programme in order. Failure to do so will certainly mean that the grim national death toll of 60 000 from COVID-19 will rise exponentially.
For interviews please contact:
Ms. Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
Mr. Ashley Benjamin
FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary
083 258 4433