Photography by:
  • Clive Hassall, James Oatway, Pieter Johannes Pieters

Using a capability framework to analyse responses to and impact of COVID-19 in the GCR

The emergence of the corona virus that causes COVID-19 in 2019, saw nearly all governments across the world implementing lockdown measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. South Africa was one of them. Economic activity was reduced to a bare minimum, people got confined to their immediate environment, schooling, social and recreational activities were disrupted and there was an unprecedented loss of life. Both the pandemic and the resultant policies to contain it had a severe impact on people’s livelihoods and social life to the extent that people’s capabilities were ruined and their poverty conditions aggravated. While the effects of the pandemic have been highly publicised in local media and felt by all and sundry, research in this domain is still at its infancy, leaving us with little knowledge of the poverty-effects of COVID-19. This project attempts to fill in this gap and provide some initial indications of how the pandemic has affected the GCR society in terms of poverty and well-being. This project is part of the on-going efforts by the GCRO of tracking and understanding the dynamics of poverty and inequality in the GCR. Earlier work has looked at poverty and inequality from (i) an income and expenditure perspective, (ii) labour market perspective (iii) a multidimensional poverty perspective and (iv) a capability perspective. Two major reports have been published, one in 2018 and the other in 2020. The proposed work seeks to extend the recently published work on the capabilities approach to poverty in the GCR. This previous work revealed that the GCR society not only confronts multiple deprivations of income and other material aspects of wellbeing but further suffers limited freedom to promote the functionings they value. This project seeks to extend this work for the GCR in light of the COVID pandemic, which we hypothesised to have impacted people's freedoms severely. The project intends to utilise the GCRO QoL Survey 6 (2020/21) data collected during the lockdown period (2020/2021). Several questions were asked in the survey on how households’ and individuals’ well-being were affected by COVID-19 and government responses to the pandemic. The project applies the capability approach framework to assess how people’s freedoms were affected and the extent to which government social security initiatives succeeded in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on well-being. The project further proposes a collaborative and comparative approach that compares the GCR with Europe and Latin America for a more general conclusion on the impact of COVID-19.

Last updated: 10 December 2021.

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