MyBroadband recently visited three of the largest and most popular shopping centres in Gauteng, and what we found were deserted areas and many closed stores.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national lockdown in March, he made it clear that most shops and businesses will be closed.
The only exceptions were pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, and health care providers which provide essential services.
The lockdown is now in full swing, and a visit to the three malls illustrated its tremendous impact on businesses.
Large parts of Sandton City, Mall of Africa, and Menlyn Shopping Centre were closed off and, apart from food stores, the malls were deserted.
The whole of Nelson Mandela Square, which is typically a vibrant meeting place and tourist destination, was completely shut down.
This is not surprising, as it consists mainly of restaurants. The food courts at all the other shopping centres were also ghost towns.
Big impact on businesses
What became clear when visiting these malls was that the impact of the lockdown will be devastating for many businesses.
Apart from a few hives of activity, there is no business taking place and the economy is essentially shut down.
The roads are empty. Shopping malls are empty. Office blocks are empty. Even online stores are closed.
Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt predicts that the coronavirus lockdown will have a severe impact on South Africa’s economy.
He said that between 100,000 and 200,000 South African businesses could be shut down permanently.
He added that the coronavirus crisis will damage an economy that was already crippled before the virus hit.
The SA Reserve Bank said its current estimates suggest South Africa could lose around 370,000 jobs in 2020, on a net basis.
Behind the scenes at shopping malls
The photos below show the impact of the lockdown on three of South Africa’s top shopping malls – Sandton City, Mall of Africa, and Menlyn Shopping Centre.
The photos were taken on Sunday, when these shopping malls would typically be packed with people.