[South Africa] Construction, manufacturing businesses temporarily halt operations amid Covid-19, survey
The results of a rapid response survey conducted by Stats SA during the lockdown was has been released.
Businesses were asked how the current crisis affected their operations in the two-week period from 30 March to 13 April 2020. 707 businesses in the formal sector responded to the survey, outlining the pandemic’s impact on turnover, trading, workforce, imports and exports, purchases, prices, and business survival.
According to the report, five in six businesses surveyed experienced a drop in turnover over the reference period. 85.4 per cent of businesses surveyed reported turnover below the normal range. Respondents in the construction, real estate and other business services, and transport industries were the most affected by lower than expected turnover.
The report further shows that 42.2 per cent of respondents indicated that they are not confident that they have the financial resources to continue operating through the COVID-19 outbreak. When asked how long business can continue without turnover, 54 per cent of respondents indicated that can survive without turnover between 1 to 3 months.
Half of the businesses surveyed have temporarily closed their doors: the industries reporting the highest percentages of temporary closure or paused trading activity were construction, manufacturing, trade and mining.
In terms of workforce size, 50 per cent of respondents expected no change, while 36.8 per cent anticipate a decline. Respondents indicated that they have implemented a range of measures to cope with the impact of the pandemic on their workforce, including decreasing working hours and laying off staff in the short term. Only about one in four businesses indicated that they had not taken any measures yet.
Most businesses (65 per cent) anticipate that the COVID-19 pandemic will impact their business substantially worse than the 2008/09 global financial crisis. Only 4.3 per cent of respondents indicated that the impact will be the same.