Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has explained government’s decision to ban the sale of ‘hot foods’ during South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown.
“The amended regulations emphasize government commitment to implementing measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus,” Dlamini Zuma said in a statement on Tuesday evening (21 April)
“We continue to strengthen the regulations in order to decrease the frequent movement of people and this has necessitated the need to restrict the sale of hot cooked food during the period of the lockdown”, she said.
She expanded on this in a virtual parliamentary meeting held on Tuesday, in which she indicated that the sale of hot foods would lead to an uptick in people leaving their homes each day to buy foods, negating the entire point of the lockdown.
“If we allow hot foods all the shops will sell it. Then we can say goodbye to the lockdown as preople will go out in the mornings, afternoon and evenings to buy pizza etc.”
Dlamini Zuma officially confirmed the prohibition on the sale of ‘hot foods’ in a government gazette published on Monday.
The directive was effectively only a line long and included no other changes, giving the impression that the government has gone out of its way to introduce this specific ban.
Business group Sakeliga has indicated that it will challenge the new amendment, slamming the ‘arbitrary’ introduction of regulations by the government.
“If something is not done immediately, even entirely legal, essential businesses may be unsure of their status,” it said.
“We would like to see a more nuanced, consistent and thoughtful approach from government.
“It is important to note that South Africa’s restrictions on these businesses are far more extreme than what is warranted by the vast majority of international expertise – including recommendations by bodies such as the World Health Organisation.”