In the latest COVID-19 lockdown regulation amendment, the South African government has officially banned the sale of hot cooked food, saying it is not essential goods.
The move comes a day after business group Sakeliga threatened the Trade and Industry Minister with legal action.
On Sunday, Sakeliga CEO Piet le Roux said prohibiting the manufacturing and selling of such goods is unlawful.
Le Roux said the move merely serves to intimidate informal traders and small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as to decrease food supply, and increase prices.
Given how many businesses and NGOs have ground to a halt during the nationwide lockdown, Sakeliga has offered to subsidise the personalised legal opinions for “essential service” providers.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has meanwhile rejected the decision as rejected the ban as short sighted.
“Dlamini-Zuma (COGTA Minister) has hurriedly amended the lockdown regulations to explicitly ban the sale of cooked foods in an attempt to put a lid on the public humiliation Minister Patel was subjected to after he stated on the 16th of April that “as the law stands”, the sale of cooked food was banned. This was clearly unlawful and Patel had to rely on his Cabinet colleague to cure his legal nightmare.”
“Today’s amendment now makes what was illegal, legal and is short sighted and mean spirited, especially for frontline health care workers, members of the security services, essential service workers and transport workers like truck drivers who rely on cooked food due to the work they are doing. This will also be particularly devastating for the elderly who may be unable to cook food due to their frailty,” the DA adds.
The party says it will write to Minister Patel, again requesting an explanation for this decision. It is giving him until midday on Tuesday to respond.
“The DA remains committed to ensuring that the executive does not overreach its mandate as we have seen. It is an important test case in the lockdown to ensure that Ministers treat citizens with the respect they deserve and are held to account for their actions,” says the DA’s Trade and Industry Shadow Minister, Dean Macpherson.
The Freedom Front Plus has also said it will write to Minister Patel, asking him to withdraw the ban.