Household resource flows and food poverty during South Africa’s lockdown: Short-term policy implications for three channels of social protection

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP22/2020
 
Publication date: December 2020
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Research on Socio-Economic Policy, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
[protected email address] (DST/NRF Research Chair in Welfare and Social Development, Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA), University of Johannesburg)
[protected email address] (Funda Wande and RESEP, Stellenbosch University)
 
Abstract:

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, and the anticipated socio-economic impacts of a hard lockdown, the South African government has leveraged three channels of social protection to protect livelihoods: social insurance, a social assistance programme of grants and localised social relief efforts. Using a mixed methods approach, this policy paper highlights that while the response from government and the social sector has been commendable, large groups of households are experiencing tremendous hardship as a direct consequence of the lockdown. New evidence from a telephonic survey suggests that 2 of every 5 adults reported that their household lost its main source of income since lockdown started in South Africa on the 27th of March 2020. This has had devastating consequences for food insecurity and household hunger. Of interviewed adults, 47% reported that their household ran out of money to buy food in April. Between May and June 2020, 21% reported that someone in the household went hungry in the last 7 days and 15% reported that a child went hungry in the last 7 days. To stave off mass, chronic hunger we simply cannot let up on the support being provided to households through all three channels of social protection. Failure to do so could deepen an emerging humanitarian crisis, hamper economic recovery, and threaten socio-political stability.

 
JEL Classification:

I32, I38

Keywords:

poverty, transfers, welfare policy, social protection, COVID-19

Notes:

(originally written July 2020)

Download: PDF (1.5 MB)

Login

(for staff & registered students)



Need a password?
Forgot your password?

Upcoming Seminars

No seminars are currently listed. Please check back soon.
 
More...

BER Weekly

1 March 2021
Even with the release of data showing a record high unemployment rate in 2020Q4, it turned out to be a fairly good week for the SA economy. Daily new COVID-19 infections remained well contained, while the second batch of 80 000 J&J vaccines arrived (albeit controversially with the grounded SAA being the carrier). In addition, relative to the October...

Read the full issue
 

Upcoming Seminars

No seminars are currently listed. Please check back soon.
 
More...

BER Weekly

1 March 2021
Even with the release of data showing a record high unemployment rate in 2020Q4, it turned out to be a fairly good week for the SA economy. Daily new COVID-19 infections remained well contained, while the second batch of 80 000 J&J vaccines arrived (albeit controversially with the grounded SAA being the carrier). In addition, relative to the October...

Read the full issue