Research by academics from the University of the Free State and the Human Sciences Research Council has highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic toll it took impacted on South Africans differently according to their regional circumstances.

Professor Ivan Turok of UFS and Justin Visagie of the HSRC found that all regions studied lost around a fifth of their jobs in the period between February and April. However, rural communities were particularly hard hit, with half of rural adults unemployed by June. In South Africa’s metros, this stood at a third.

Within urban centres, 36% of those living in informal settlements lost their jobs, as did 24% in townships and 14% of those living in the suburbs.

The study argued for differential, targeted responses to people who had been affected in different parts of the country to address their particular needs. A one-size-fits-all approach would not be effective.

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