A basic government grant of at least R1,000 could improve the health of South Africans and reduce some of the pressure the public health system faces. This is the view of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), one of the civil society organisations that participated in Wednesday’s national shutdown.
The national shutdown drew attention to the worsening socio-economic conditions, the rising cost of living, the unemployment rate and the poor state of the public health system.
The TAC’s national chairperson Sibongile Tshabalala said people could live healthier lives with a higher grant.
“Some people are getting sick because of poor nutrition and living conditions. But a basic grant can go a long way in addressing several healthcare-related issues,” stated Tshabalala.
Government must urgently address the inefficiencies in the public health system, which disadvantage the poor and the working class.
“They are the ones who miss work and wait outside public healthcare facilities from early morning hours and most of the time end up not even receiving the treatment or services they need,” she said.
Tshabalala said corruption, unemployment, and power blackouts also threaten healthcare services.
Unemployment and public health
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said it is concerning that young South Africans are overindulging in alcohol and drugs due to the country’s high rate of unemployment.
“A catastrophic 45% of the South African population is unemployed. And for black women, that unemployment is already at 53%. Basically, in our country of all the young people, 46% of them are not in any employment, they are not in any training, they are not in any education, and they are roaming the streets,” stated Vavi.
He further added, “When the youth roam the streets, what follows is that there is a crisis of alcohol abuse. And the second pandemic most of us don’t want to speak about is the drug abuse negatively affecting young people in S.A. And the other pandemic is suicide amongst younger men and the issue of young children who are growing without the love of their fathers,”.
According to Statistics SA Quarterly Labor Force Survey for the second quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate for women remained above the national average, while the productive potential of South African women in the labour market remains unused.
“It is worrying that women in our country are the ones who are most negatively affected by the current challenges,” said Tshabalala. -Health-e News.