The Department of Small Business Development has issued directions to assist SMMEs operating grocery stores to comply with lockdown regulations. 
Photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
The Department of Small Business Development has issued directions to assist SMMEs operating grocery stores to comply with lockdown regulations. Photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Government to allow small businesses and spaza shops to operate during lockdown

By Dhivana Rajgopaul Time of article published Apr 7, 2020

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DURBAN - The Department of Small Business Development has issued directions to assist SMMEs operating grocery stores to comply with lockdown regulations. 

The term grocery stores above refers to corner shops, spaza shops, fruit and vegetable stores

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.

SMME grocery stores will be permitted to operate during the lockdown period irrespective of the nationality of their owners provided that they meet the following:

1. All spaza shop owners and informal food traders must hold permits issued by their respective local municipalities 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 a grocery store in contravention of the Food Safety and Health Standards

3. Only the sale of foodstuff 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 maintaining a social distance amongst customers and between the trader and customer of at least one metre as well as disinfecting and sanitising trading spaces in line with the directions issued by the Department of Health

5. 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 must have been lawfully admitted into the country and must hold a valid passport with a visa issued by the Department of Home Affairs which will authorise him or her to operate a business. Alternatively the person must hold an asylum seeker's permit, which allows him or her to work. Permission to operate will be linked to the period covered by the asylum seeker's permit.

The Department of Small Business Development also said that all staff must at all times carry a permit to perform essential services or a stamp or authorised signature on the permit. All staff must at all times carry a positive photo identification such as an identity document, passport or permit, issued by the Department of Home Affairs.

SMMEs may contact the Department of Small Business Development for more information.

Recently, applications for the Sukuma Relief Programme, an initiative aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are financially impacted by Covid-19, opened. 

The programme is comprised two different relief offerings – one for formal sole proprietors and another for other business entities, namely close corporations, companies, and trusts.

Another fund that is aiming to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic is South African Future Trust (SAFT). The main aim of the SAFT is to mitigate the immediate economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis by keeping companies in business and protecting jobs, in order to fast track SA’s economic recovery after this pandemic. 

The Trust will extend direct financial support to employees of South African small, medium and micro-sized businesses who are at risk of losing their jobs or will suffer a loss of income because of Covid-19. 

Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer funded and established SAFT with an initial contribution of R1 billion.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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