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26% Of South Africans Say They Have No Money For Food

Just under a third (26%) of South Africans who participated in a recent survey on the coronavirus lockdown said they have no money to buy food.

This is according to a survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of the impact and awareness of the coronavirus amongst South Africans.

The survey’s results were announced on Sunday during a briefing by Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande.

South Africa has been under hard lockdown since 27 March and will move to a less stringent level on 1 May.

The survey was conducted in two waves: The first, conducted from 27 – 31 March looked primarily at awareness levels and knowledge about the virus. The second, conducted form 9 – 16 April, looked primarily at the impact of the lockdown on the country.

Over 19,000 participants aged 18 years and older, including healthcare workers, were surveyed via the data-free Moya Messaging social media platform.


Between 45% and 63% of participants reported that the lockdown would make it difficult to pay bills, debts, earn income, feed their families and keep their jobs. Additionally, 26% of people reported that they had no money for food.

More than half (55%) of informal settlement residents had no money for food.

“Government and society as a whole should acknowledge that some communities are struggling and people may have no money to buy food. A social compact must be created with communities and the public and private sector, to ensure sustainable financial and social relief. This should include promoting intergenerational cohesion and sustainable food banks at the level of the district,” the survey recommended.


The findings also showed that most South Africans adhered to the lockdown regulations by staying home, only leaving to buy goods and medicines.

A total of 62% indicated that they had left their home to get food and medicine and 99% left home for food medicine or social grants.

According to the survey, 8% of people who went out met more than 50 people, 15% had to use public transport.