Guest contributor

I have asked people in my community and some of our mining stakeholders to illustrate briefly, in five lines, how Covid-19 has impacted their professional and personal lives, or even their mental health and well-being. 

I have received a few WhatsApps, voice notes, phone calls and emails – some more detailed that others. Really great perspectives from different people with different socio-economic backgrounds. I will share some with you below: 

“I am currently working what feels like 23.5 hours a day at the hospital. Once our executive committee decided to open the mine hospital for neighbouring communities we have been inundated not only with Covid-19 issues but with patients that have conditions that have not been attended to for a very long time simply because access to healthcare has been limited for them. Patients from communities more than 100km away have come to the hospital for basic care services. We are fortunate to have the resources to care for all patients; however because of the uncertainty of the pandemic and the growing number of patients we may run into a challenge in a few weeks’ time. This is such a unique moment in history, the challenges and the pain are likely to be immense but the learning and insight will position us well for the world we are heading into. One which cares for our brothers and sisters as true South Africans.” A doctor working for Anglo Platinum. 

“This is probably the most uncertain I’ve ever been in my life but I am happy about how the president and government have handled the matter and the company I work for, for thinking about us employees. I am still worried if I will still have an income next month. If should the number of people confirmed in the country increase, will the country have the capacity to handle it. I am worried about the essential workers and the fact that some companies have not ensures their safety against potential customers who might have the virus. These are uncertain times but I am lucky because I understand why things are happening the way they are happening. I have access to information to keep me aware about what is happening around me. I would love for this to be everyone’s reality but i know that isn’t the case. So i am just hoping the government is continuing to put out information to those lives that are even more uncertain than me.” Anonymous

“My company requires me to market myself on the mines and power stations in order to sell a service of purchase order funding which is through creditors. With the creditors office closed due to the virus outbreak. I am unable to make commission from the suppliers who need funding. I am stuck until the end of Covid-19.” A self-employed person

“Covid-19 has impacted my life in so many ways. Some positive, some negative. Professionally, because I am an entrepreneur it has impacted me badly. It is a tough time for SMMEs right now – we all had to shut down. So no income coming in but there is still payments that I have to made. For instance, I am in the alcohol manufacturing space so we make our own gin therefore we had to close therefore we can make any more product YET we still have to pay for warehouse spacing and storage. I also do stationary supply so that’s mostly a business-to-business relationship so if the businesses are closed that means i have no clients and no money coming in – there is no one to supply. It’s been tough on earning a living because that means until the lock-down is done nothing is coming in. Even after the fact we don’t know if things will go back to normal, there will be financial implications. I know the government is trying to help out but it’s just a small portion of what is actually needed to survive this. Personal life, it has obviously impacted me with social distancing and i am a very outdoors person and in a way has helped me because we not consuming a lot of alcohol and your body is cleaner now. All those bad-ish things we do in our social space has been cut down so it’s positive in a way, I guess” A self-employed person

“My husband is the former ambassador of South Africa to Mauritius and fell ill three weeks ago. He was admitted at the military hospital and he is in critical condition. Our daughter who lives in New York cannot travel to come see us or her father due to the travel bans and Covid-19. Since the lock-down announcement by President Ramaphosa the hospital initially restricted visiting hours and now has suspended all visiting hours – even to close family relatives and spouses. I cannot see my husband or speak to my husband. I am very afraid of what may happen. My husband gave his life to this country sometimes to the detriment of ordinary family life and well-being, now when it is time for his family to be with him in his time of need, the same government is refusing even that.” Anonymous.  

“Its very very very bad for us in the entertainment industry. We are not getting bookings since the announcement and gigs were being cancelled even before then when those Italy people came back to SA. I can’t perform and I am very frustrated at this point in time because I depend on the bookings to pay my monthly rentals and to care for my family. We have been saying to government for a long time that we need support in the entertainment industry and laws that protect us. Now, with this corona virus we don’ t even have a leg to stand on and access the government initiatives that other people can.” Anonymous

” My family and I don’t know what this thing is. We were just told to wash our hands and stop hugging each other. On my WhatsApp the same thing, even at my child’s school they were telling me the same thing but we do not know what this thing is. On radio you just hear Corona virus but no one is explaining to us what it is. So all I can do is continue to do this washing hands every time and tell my child the same thing until this lock down is over.” A member of the Bakwena ba Mogopa community, Makolokwe, North West.