Leading consultant comments on SA's Covid-19 lockdown

10 April 2020 Consultancy.co.za 3 min. read
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Days after a lockdown was introduced in South Africa, leading reputation management and communications consultant Solly Moeng has proposed changes to the conditions of the lockdown, based on the way the situation has unfolded so far.

Enforcing compliance with the lockdown has been a challenge, and security forces in South Africa have been nothing short of harsh with individuals found in violation of lockdown conditions. For Moeng, this puts a number of South Africans in a desperate situation as they struggle to manage without their livelihood. The lockdown also has devastating consequences for an already struggling economy.

Moeng is the Owner & CEO at communications consultancy DonValley Reputation Managers, and a regular columnist at Fin24. It is in one of these columns that he has laid down this recommendations going forth. Moeng points to the recent Boston Consulting Group study that uses a prediction model to suggest that South Africa maintain its lockdown till the end of June at the very least.

While Moeng acknowledges the arguments for a lockdown, he suggests that a middle ground must be found to ensure stability in South Africa. “The route we must chart, going forward, must aim at preventing the further spread of Covid-19 and flattening its growth path sooner than predicted by the Boston Consulting Group study on one hand; and, on the other hand, restarting the engines of our economy,” wrote Moeng.

Leading consultant comments on SA's Covid-19 lockdown

The task is challenging, but Moeng urges that it is possible to find such middle ground. “It must be a fine balancing act, no doubt, but one that we may just pull off if we come up with a plan that will get all South Africans to play their part, with no group given any reason to suspect injustice,” he wrote.

South Africa’s economic scenario was already bleak prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, with high rates of unemployment and dipping forecasts for GDP growth. The country was on the brink of falling out of investment grade economies according to Moody’s rating before the crisis, but has now fallen to junk status as per Moody’s analysis.

Several businesses in the country have come under threat from Covid-19 disruption, as supply chains across the globe face delays and blockages. The lack of travel has also had an impact on the country, and maintaining a lockdown with no economic activity is likely to be devastating for South Africa.

The government has made allowances for essential goods in South Africa, but Moeng recommends going a step further. “Properly registered traders of other required goods and services – particularly food, in areas of easy access by people living in rural areas, townships and informal settlements – could be considered,” he added.