Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
3 minute read
15 Feb 2021
5:15 am

Who is helping the forgotten middle class during the lockdowns?

Ina Opperman

The number of people who are considered middle class and above declined from 6.1 million to 2.7 million individuals, a reduction of 55.73%, between 2017 and June 2020.

Shoppers walk by with trolleys loaded with goods in the Mall of Africa in Midrand on 24 November 2017. The annual shopping event saw the malls thronged with shoppers looking for goods during the sale. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

It used to be said in jest: if you are lucky enough to have enough money to pay your bills and taxes, but not enough for anything else, welcome to the middle class. Now, 11 months after the pandemic came to our shores, this saying has lost some of its punch. The middle class, and therefore the tax base, is getting smaller and smaller as this income group is pushed back into poverty by salary cuts and job losses. The worst is that there has not really any measures to protect the middle class during the economic downturn exacerbated by...