Voice of the Cape

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Clarity for small businesses operating during lockdown

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Amid frustrating confusion around what businesses are allowed to operate and under what conditions during the national Co-VID19 lockdown; the Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni issued a statement to clarify the matter on Wednesday.

The directions issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), is aimed at operating grocery stores including corner shops, spaza shops and fruit and vegetable stores.

As per the regulations, only businesses that provide essential services such as police, health, emergency services, banking and telecommunications are allowed to be open. Stores that are exempt are only those in the medical sector such as pharmacies and in the food and production line.

Ntshavheni calrified that grocery stores which include corner shops, spaza shops and fruit and vegetable stores are permitted to operate during lockdown period irrespective of the nationality of the owners.

However, business is only allowed to continue if the following is adhered to:

  1. Operators must hold permits issued by their respective local municipality allowing them to trade in line with the provisions of the Business Act 71 of 1991 as amended.
  2. No person may stay overnight in the grocery store as this in contravention of the Food Safety and Health Standards.
  3. Only the sale of food staff and basic necessities is permitted, grocery stores must not sell products or goods that are prohibited by the lockdown Regulations.
  4. The grocery stores must uphold the Health and Hygiene requirements by:

COMPULSORY HEALTH AND SAFETY REGULATIONS INCLUDE:

  • Ensuring that social distance between those in the store, including customers and between the trader and customer, of at least 1-metre.
  • Disinfecting and sanitizing trading spaces in line with the directions issued by the Department of Health.
  • Ensure that the absolute minimum number of staff are at work
  • employers are encouraged to provide transport for their employees during the lockdown period.

SPAZA SHOPS AND INFORMAL TRADERS

Spaza shop owner and informal food traders currently trading without permits may apply for temporary permits.

In the case of Non-South African citizens, the business owner:

(a) must have been lawfully  residing in the republic and must hold a valid passport with a visa issued by the department of Home Affairs in terms of section 10 of the Immigration Act, 2002 (13 of 2002), authorising him or her to operate a business, and

(b) must alternatively hold an asylum seekers’ permit issued in terms of section 22 of the Refugees Act, 1998 (Act 130 of 1998), which allows him or her to work. Permission to operate will be linked to the period covered by the asylum seekers’ permit.

Informal Food Traders will be limited to the sale of fruit and vegetables “and the Langanas, who operate in the Northern Cape and Western Cape.”

SMMEs wishing to enquire on information to clarify their status as rendering essential services or providing essential goods may contact the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) on 0860 663 7867, alternatively send their queries to info@dsbd.gov.za.

 The gazetted regulations can be found on the DSBD and government website.

VOC


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