Children in South Africa were most affected by the ongoing Covid pandemic, the 2020 General Household Survey (GHS) has found.
Released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Thursday the survey found that Covid has had a distinct impact on the nature of childcare arrangements for children aged up to four years old in 2020.
The report provides a snapshot of progress achieved in basic government services, and also assists to identify service delivery gaps for policy intervention.
The GHS report aims to assess the levels of development in the country as well as the extent of service delivery and the quality of services.
In the report, Stats SA said the percentage of children that attended Grade R, preschool, nursery school, creche, and educare centres decreased from 36.8% in 2019 to 24.2% in 2020.
“The percentage of children that remained at home with a parent, guardian, other adults or children increased from
57.8% to 67.2% during the same period,” it noted.
During this period, according to Covid regulations, schools and educational facilities were shut, negatively affecting attendance. The report shows that five year olds who did not attend educational institutions increased from
10.9% in 2019 to 37.7% in 2020.
“For six year olds, the percentage increased from 3.5% to 11.8%. Although enrolment in education remained relatively high, a comparison with 2019 shows that a slightly higher percentage of children in older age groups were not attending school,” the survey found.
Stats SA said although Covid lockdowns and restrictions severely impacted livelihoods, social grants remained a “vital safety net”, particularly in the poorest provinces.
“The roll-out of the temporary SRD [social relief of distress grants] in 2020 played a central role in protecting individuals and households against the loss of income during this
“Nationally, 5.3% of individuals accessed the Covid SRD grants in 2020. The results show that the percentage of individuals who accessed grants in 2020 increased to 34.9%, while the percentage of households that received at least one grant increased to 52.4%”.
Stats SA noted that the percentage of persons that had access to at least one form of social grant decreased from
34.9% to 30.7% if the SRD grants were excluded.
“Grants were the second most important source of income (52.9%) for households after salaries (57.6%) and the main source of income for more than a quarter (28.8%) of households nationally,” the agency said.
A larger percentage of households received grants compared to salaries as a source of income in Eastern Cape (63.6% versus 46.2%) and Limpopo (69.3% versus 44.6%).