Our South African society is facing one of the biggest economic challenges during the COVID19 lockdown as thousands have, and will loose their jobs. No matter who you are, you will be affected by the pandemic in one way or another, and to find a way forward to survive is another stress factor on its own. Debt Centre would like to share our views with our readers and clients about all the aspects during this nationwide lockdown, looking at the economic financial crisis with the government’s estimation of a staggering 40% overall job loss in the upcoming months.
The Regulations and restrictions
All our lives came to a halt, new rules and strict enforcement’s caught us by surprise to say the least. We have come custom to items like surgical and fabric face masks, hand sanitizers, thermos testers and gloves. New gear that we have to wear to protect ourselves against the infection of the Corona Virus.
We get educated on TV and social media what the impact and the dangers are if we get sick, what to do, where to go, what not to buy and to stay at home. The emphasis on washing our hands regularly for 20 seconds at a time, plastic face shields covering the faces of the workers at the shopping centers. Long shopping queues with a maximum of 50 allowed inside the store at a time.
To protect us from direct and indirect infections, the government banned the trade of products like alcohol and cigarettes, non-essential items and everything that could cause the people to contract the deadly virus. Most people are depending on the Government’s food parcels distribution and social grants, to survive on the basics with the uncertainty of how long this will last.
School yards are empty, and free and open targets for thieves and vandalism, which will cost the government millions in damages. Only the South African police and military are the permitted security and law enforcement allowed on the streets, which means that suburban areas are more vulnerable to petty crimes as for the police force cannot be everywhere to secure the safety of the citizens.
Although the government is working hard to assist all the children at home to continue with their schooling, providing internet access and online schooling, with video interacting and teaching. Not everyone has access to the internet, especially those who live in the rural areas with no electricity and the bare necessities. Shops are closing more frequently for days at a time due to infections in large outlets, and it causing more panic buying out of fear of not being able to get enough essential food.
Now with level four of the lockdown where some sectors of the market could resume work to open their offices, millions of employee’s jobs will be cut or suspended as employers could no longer afford their salaries by the end of May, due to the loss of business income.
Financial assistance and grants
Consumers with credit agreements can negotiate a three-month payment holiday with their creditors, and find assistance with some of their insurance policies linked to their credit agreements, to cover their debt repayments for a period of up to 12 months.
The feedback’s we received was that some clients managed to restructure their accounts where they can pay less for a period of 3 months, not earning a income leaves these consumers in a financial depression of no hope, then what happens to the consumers that got retrenched or temporary lay off’s while waiting for the confirmation on how the creditors will be assisting them during this time? This is a national disaster for millions of families…
The Business and UIF rescue plan of the government, implemented to pay business and workers a small part of their income, has only reached a small percentage of the applicants so far. People are in desperate need for money to provide for their families.
People that are in need of food parcels, how to get the food to people that need it desperately?
- Contact your local Welfare office, or go to the welfare office in your area or the Toll free number 0600123456 – you need patients and hold on or keep on trying as they are very busy. For applications SRD@sassa.gov.za via email.
- Have the name, surname, ID number and contact number of the person that need that food parcel desperately.
- The welfare will make contact with all the people on the list to verify their information and guide them further.
If you know of a family that needs help, please make that call to a welfare office in your area and get them on the list for distribution of food parcels . Unfortunately food parcels is not reaching people fast enough, due to the amount of people in need, ensure the people you care about is listed to benefit. Share kindness in this time, if you have food to spare please help those that is not working and deprived of an income due to COVID19 lockdown. There is shelters for the homeless people to keep them off the streets, at these shelters they receiving food, and medical treatment. Motivate them to return to the shelters where they will get food. Support your local supermarket community drives to donate nonperishable foods. It is always a good idea to ask the store manager about the donations and where the food will be distributed, it will give you peace of mind that no matter how small your contribution you helping to get food to the people that need it.
Consumers are under so much stress and uncertainty of how long the lockdown will continue, and whether they will have a job to return to when it’s all over. To deal with the unknown COVID19 effects and the losses, weighs heavy on many families that had no savings plan for times like this.
Debt Centre’s helping and supporting consumers during the unknown
We support consumers during this time to manage their accounts in a legal way which will protect their assets under the National Credit Act, and prevent creditors from proceeding legally against them. We can help reduce the financial stress and payments, allowing parents to come to terms with what is happening to their finances, and deal with the disruptive way the COVID19 lockdown has affected them and their households.
Consumers must not rely on the hope that their debt will be written off because of the financial losses, and the effects the total lockdown has on the economy. We invite you to contact us at Debt Centre to assist you with a possible solution to overcome your losses, until your financial situation improves.
The three months payment holiday the banks have granted their clients, could increase the installments from R 800.00 to R 3000.00, including the interest and arrears over the next five years. After the reduced period of interests offered is over, it will be recalculated and more and more consumers will realize that they cannot afford those increased payments.
Our advice is that for those who could pay their bonds from a full salary must do so to save unnecessary costs in the future. If you were in arrears with your bond or vehicle payments before the Covid-19 Lockdown, changes are good that you could face the legal action against you at the time that the courts are fully operational again.
Keep in mind that the majority of the consumers not in debt review had no problems before the pandemic affected our country, and now during the lockdowns find themselves over-indebted.
We as registered debt counselors can help you in time before that happens, all the more reason to get in contact with us to assist and protect your assets. Visit us at www.debtcentre.co.za and reach out, we embrace technology and will offer you the best and most effective way out, gather information accurately, reduce the time of applications to ensure our clients have less financial stress and peace of mind with the best solutions to suit their personal needs.
We realize that business and family life will never be the same after the lockdown is lifted. The uncertainty of what to expect and how it will affect the future of business and schools, our health and risks when we are going to go back to normal, are all questions with very few answers at this time.
No one could anticipate that a Corona virus called the COVID19 pandemic, a respiratory decease will cause over 200000 people’s deaths and affects over 3.5 million people around the globe. This virus has changed our lives overnight and caused many families and workers misery of not knowing where their next food will come from. For others the insecurity of their income and not being able to pay their accounts are like financial nightmares staring them in the face.
Message from the author: Annienne Nel
Be grateful for everything you have no matter how little, if you have a warm meal tonight be thankful and remember those who are less fortunate. We pray for all our friends, readers, clients and consumers, stay safe and healthy, may God be with you and your families.