How is the government supporting businesses in the informal sector?
On 07 April 2020, Minister of Small Business Development (DSBD), Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) issued Directions aimed at assisting SMMEs operating grocery stores including corner shops, spaza shops, fruit and vegetable stores to comply with the COVID-19 Lockdown Regulations.
In terms of the lockdown regulations, all enterprises operating within the border of the Republic of South Africa are expected to close during the lockdown period except for enterprises which, are designated as providers of essential goods and services as per Annexure (b) to the lockdown regulations.
However, in terms of the newly gazetted Directions, grocery stores which include corner shops, spaza shops and fruit and vegetable stores are now permitted to operate during lockdown period irrespective of the nationality of the owners provided that they adhere to the following:
- 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.
- No person may stay overnight in the grocery store as this in contravention of the Food Safety and Health Standards.
- 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.
- 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 owner 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 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.
- Mandatory Identification Required by Staff Working During the Lockdown Period
- All staff must at all times carry a permit to perform essential services contemplated regulation 11(B)(3) of the lockdown Regulations.
- A stamp or authorised signature on the permit contemplated in regulation 11(B)(3), to perform essential services, is acceptable.
- All staff must at all times carry positive photo identification such as an identity document, passport or permit, issued by the Department of Home Affairs.
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 an 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, alternatively send their queries to firstname.lastname@example.org .