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PPF calls for expansion in Level 4




DATE: 14 MAY  2020

South Africa is almost 50 days into its national lockdown. The Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF) believes that the initial objectives of the lockdown: disrupting the spread of the COVID-19 virus; preparing our health facilities and conduct mass testing has to large extent been achieved. We applaud the gallant efforts by the National Covid Command Council and their commitment to our country and the well-being of our people.

We welcome the Phase 4 lockdown but believe that this is not sufficient to keep our economy operating. Companies, sole proprietors, SMME’s, professional practices have experienced a month of zero revenue and many have paid their staff notwithstanding. The very real fact is that no business can afford two months of zero revenue. SMME’s more so and especially those who do not qualify for the various assistance packages available will fold and employment opportunities will be lost with it.

Most critically, poor households are most affected because of the widespread loss of income resulting from COVID-19 mitigation measures and possible closure of many businesses. The current loss of income is and will lead to a complete switch from nutrient-rich non-staple foods like eggs, fruits and vegetables to rice, maize and wheat thereby compromising the body’s ability to fight the virus. Even more concerning are the millions of households going to bed hungry as the bread winners are prevented from working. The health of the poor households depends on healthy eating which can only be maintained through the meagre income earned as SMME’s and working for these SMME’s.  The very objective of disrupting the spread of COVID-19 through a hard lock down and complete stop of all activities can in fact create a situation of compromised immune systems amongst a major part of the population.

The PPF has also noticed that the different Lockdown levels are discriminating against SMME's. The Construction Sector as an example allows Level 4 construction on 'critical public works construction ' while only in Level 2 is construction allowed on ' private residential projects “. Critical public works projects will be mostly executed by big contractors. Private residential projects are mostly undertaken by SMME contractors who cannot afford zero income and who will not be able to assist their employees, more so than established contractors. Yet the SMME contractors are still not able to work under current Level 4 conditions. The PPF calls for Section D to include all construction not only critical public works construction.

Wholesale and retail trade allow the ‘sale of hot cooked food, only at home delivery’.  This discriminates against SMME take aways who do not provide home delivery service. The PPF calls for the expansion to include kerb side delivery / collection as well.

We firmly hold the view that our economy and the majority of the people of South Africa cannot sustain a lockdown in its current form. The PPF calls for an expansion of services in Level 4 which will benefit SMME’s provided that all companies adhere to the COVID Health and Safety Measures and that should non-compliance be detected; the business is closed immediately.  


For media enquiries please make contact with Sithembiso Kubheka (PFF Secretary General) on 083 353 5124 or Kashif Wicomb on 082 415 6634.

About the PPF 

The Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF) is a non-racial, non-sexist and non-xenophobic organisation of progressive professionals, academics, intellectuals and patriotic entrepreneurs subscribing the values of the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of South Africa. The PPF, as the resource base and think tank of South Africa, objective is to assist the State in realising our country’s developmental goals through contributing towards public policy, research and advocacy.