Skip to main content
A grandmother with a child outside their shelter in South Africa

A grandmother stands with a child outside their home in South Africa. - Irish Methodist World Development & Relief/Simon Hutchinson

Coronavirus response: South Africa

Working to keep the poorest communities in South Africa safe from the virus.

We're working with some of the poorest communities in South Africa to help them stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus is pushing people further into poverty

Before the virus reached South Africa, one in four people were living below the food poverty line. 

Now, our local partners tell us that levels of poverty are overwhelming. Nearly one in two people don’t have enough food to eat or are at real risk of hunger.

School feeding programmes are suspended, and many who relied on piece-meal jobs are no longer able to make a living.

Building a safety net for families

The lockdown in South Africa is disproportionality affecting the most vulnerable. Our partner Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), working through Nedlac, has been instrumental in creating an improved safety net for families directly affected by a lack of income.

This comprehensive six-month package, launched by South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa, will provide substantially increased grants to people living in poverty.

This historic decision is hailed as a progressive move to put people’s dignity at the heart of society.  

Moving forward, our partner SPII will work with other civil society organisations, through Nedlac, to monitor grants and ensure they are delivered effectively in the community.

We are truly delighted by the impact of the president’s announcement with regards to the roll-out of social grants, as well as making income available for poor adults.

- Isobel Frye, SPII Director .

What is Nedlac?

  • Nedlac is the National Economic Development and Labour Council.
  • Our partner SPII engages as the formal community lead on this advisory body, jointly with government, labour and business representatives.

Helping people claim their rights

Other partners, including the Shack-dweller Movement (Abahlali baseMjondolo) and the Church Land Programme, have been campaigning for a ban of all evictions, whether legal or illegal, during the pandemic.

This action is to protect people who are living in informal settlements or are homeless to becoming even more at risk of infection.

Keeping people safe

Our partner Bench Marks Foundation is also calling for more respirators to be delivered to mining communities.

People in these communities are more at risk of dying from coronavirus because of widespread respiratory illnesses due to mining activity.

Standing together with marginalised communities

ACT Ubumbano, a coalition of over 30 Southern African partners, is rapidly adapting to coronavirus. Through Ubumbano Voice communities under lockdown are making their voices heard during the pandemic by sharing their experiences and concerns.

As the Christian Aid South Africa programme closes in May 2020, we'll continue to work with ACT Ubumbano in the region through Christian Aid Zimbabwe.  

Photo: Irish Methodist World Development & Relief/Simon Hutchinson

You can help save lives

Please support our response to the coronavirus pandemic and give what you can today.

Donate to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal