When South Africans began their day this morning, they faced the 54th day of the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.
Statistics fill every media medium.
It estimated that anywhere between 4 and 7 million jobs will be placed at “risk” while the economy could contract by as much as 16% in the following months.
There are many social tragedies that were not carefully considered or addressed before the level-5 lockdown. There is no other word to describe the days and the days to come – grim.
There is, however, a silver lining peaking from behind the dark clouds.
The new level-4 restrictions allow for a staged return of several crucial industries – welcome news for an economy that has haemorrhaged billion of Rand since 27 March.
Big business is back. And not a moment too soon.
But what about small business and in the mining sector – artisanal miners?
In her editorial contribution on our homepage today, Selina Zhuwarara, highlights the artisanal mining sector should also be afforded attention too, especially in Southern Africa, where the vocation largely remains unintegrated.
“Artisanal mining should not be shunned or left to collapse post COVID-19 because the sector has a direct impact on the livelihoods of many vulnerable urban and peri-urban communities.
“The survival and support of this sector is of strategic importance to economic development agenda in Southern Africa,” she points out.
In the post-COVID-19 lockdown the number of artisanal miners is sure to increase due to employment cuts so her words should hold our attention.
Artisanal mining is not restricted to southern Africa. Artisanal mining is prevalent in many countries where many people have no other choice. In some there are programmes being implemented to formalise the sector.
Let us hope these are accelerated to prepare for the “new world” post COVID-19.