The Southern Africa Trust commissioned Health Focus South Africa (HFSA) to conduct a rapid assessment to collect data and information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected and impacted current mineworkers and their families and ex-mineworkers and their families over the past 6 months. The rapid assessment was conducted via a brief telephonic survey in the following countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa during the month of November 2020. The survey looked at the past 6 months and focused on 4 core areas:
1. Access to information on COVID-19;
2. The impact of the pandemic on their livelihoods, finances, food security and access to health care;
3. The challenges experienced and
4. The urgent needs identified
In total, 20 current mineworkers and 44 ex-mineworkers were interviewed across the 4 countries. Ananalysis of the findings revealed the following:
- 100% of respondents indicated they had good access to information on COVID-19 from a variety of sources and all understood how the virus could be transmitted.
- COVID-19 had an impact on food security, but this was most noted in the ex-mineworker cohort who ate less of their preferred foods or skipped meals. This was largely linked to financial challenges.
- Access to healthcare was predominantly impacted as a result of movement restrictions for both cohorts.
Overall, the key challenge felt by the respondents was the impact on their income and the resulting effects this had on their day to day lives and households. This was most felt by the ex-mineworker cohort who mainly deal in the informal economy. In addition, at the time of the survey, over 50% of ex-mineworkers were applying for compensation or trying to unlock social protection benefits and found this to be more of a challenge than usual owing to the movement restrictions and closure of services.