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Minster gives direction regarding spaza shops and informal traders

News in brief - Date: 07 April 2020

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The Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has issued directions, in terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act (Act 57 of 2002), that are aimed at assisting SMMEs operating grocery stores to comply with the COVID-19 lockdown regulations. 

In terms of the lockdown regulations, all enterprises operating within the South African borders are expected to close during the lockdown period, except for enterprises that are designated as providers of essential goods and services as per the lockdown regulations.

Ntshavheni pointed out that, in terms of the recently gazetted directions, grocery stores, which include corner shops, spaza shops and fruit and vegetable stores, are permitted to operate during the lockdown period, irrespective of the nationality of the owners, provided that they adhere to the following:

1) 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 foodstuff and basic necessities is permitted, and 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:

* Maintaining a social distance amongst 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.

* Spaza shop owners and informal food traders currently trading without permits may apply for temporary permits, and in 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 (b) must alternatively hold an asylum seeker’s 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 seeker’s permit.

The informal food traders as referred to in the regulations are limited to fruit and vegetable informal traders and the Langanas who operate in the Northern Cape and Western Cape. All enterprises referred to must ensure that they have the absolute minimum number of staff necessary to safely operate the enterprise. Furthermore, employers are encouraged to provide transport for their employees during the lockdown period.

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, or alternatively send their queries to (Source: GCIS on behalf of the Ministry of Small Business Development).

With informal traders being forced to close, such as the traders in Eltivillas (photo above), the Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has given directions on how these traders, including corner shops and spazas, can comply with legislation allowing them to trade.




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