Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
2 minute read
22 Apr 2021
8:09 pm

The cost of Covid: 46% of SA households go hungry – survey

Ina Opperman

One of the most devastating ‘unintended consequences’ of the Covid-19 pandemic is the spread of hunger.

Picture: Nigel Sibanda

 

46% of SA households go hungry due to Covid-19, according to a study by Ipsos, on behalf of the Centre for Social Development in Africa based at the University of Johannesburg, with respondents agreeing with the statement: “Adults and children in my household often had to go hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic, as we did not have enough money for food.”

Fieldwork for the study was done between 19 November 2020 and 30 December 2020 when 3469 randomly selected adults participated in face-to-face interviews. An estimated three million people lost their jobs in 2020.

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More than 40% affected by hunger

When the fieldwork was done, more than 40% of South Africans of all age groups and all population groups were affected by hunger. About half of Indian and black people, more than four in 10 coloured people and almost three in 10 white people in the country went hungry.

Graphic about hunger in SA

People in KwaZulu-Natal, the second most populous province in South Africa and the Eastern Cape, one of the poorest provinces, suffered the most. Hunger also affected similar proportions of working (45%) and non-working (46%) people.

About six in every 10 South Africans (58%) said that “the Covid-19 pandemic has a negative impact on the income of my household” and half (50%) said “people in my household suffer more from stress and other illnesses during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

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Government and Covid-19

Close to six in every 10 South Africans (58%) thought that President Cyril Ramaphosa did a good job during the pandemic and a similar proportion (56%) gave the South African government credit for its handling of the pandemic.

It is probably not surprising that ANC supporters were more vocal in their support for the president and the government’s handling of the pandemic, and supporters of other political parties largely agreed with each other, although not to the same extent.

The opinions of supporters of all three of the biggest political parties were very close regarding alleged corruption by government officials. More than half (52%) of the participants said the alleged corruption by government officials during the pandemic made them feel more negative about the ANC.

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