Make sure you are stocked up with all the necessary lockdown essentials.
Pic: Supplied
Make sure you are stocked up with all the necessary lockdown essentials. Pic: Supplied

Loot.co.za joins call for the list of essential items to be widened

By Sizwe Dlamini Time of article published Apr 17, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Online shopping platform Loot.co.za has joined other eCommerce platforms in calling for the government to widen the definition of essential goods and services, driven by the spike in demand for online shopping since the start of the lockdown.

Loot.co.za’s chief executive, Greg le Roux, said yesterday that all Loot’s delivery partners were essential service providers and had implemented contactless delivery mechanisms to ensure smooth and safe delivery.

Le Roux said all delivery partners adhered to the Covid-19 safety guidelines through the use of hand sanitisers, masks and gloves.

He said they also no longer required a customer’s signature as proof of delivery. “They take a picture of the product at your door as proof of delivery. There is no human contact.

“We have been inundated with requests for non-essential goods as defined by the Gazette, however, which are deemed very essential by our consumers. The demand for laptops, schoolbooks, stationery, etc, illustrates the need for the list of the essential items to be expanded so that South Africans can continue to live as normal as possible during the extended lockdown period.”

Le Roux said there seemed to be a difference between other countries and South Africa in that in South Africa eCommerce platforms were allowed to deliver only essential goods as defined by the government.

“Due to the restrictions, there has been a plethora of new business platforms opening offering shopping services of different natures, and numerous grocery chains rapidly increasing their delivery mechanism in order to satisfy online demand,” he said.

Loot.co.za has rapidly changed to an essential service eCommerce platform offering a large range of dry groceries, cleaning products, personal protective equipment and hygiene products.

Recently, it added an extensive range of baby essentials, from formula to wipes and nappies.

Le Roux said the list of essential items was expanding daily.

He said Loot.co.za’s full product range was still available to purchase, for delivery after the lockdown.

“We have seen many non-essential products being purchased during the lockdown period, and our system is able to distinguish between essential and non-essential, thus ensuring that we adhere to the gazetted guidelines.”

South African logistics and eCommerce businesses last week wrote an open letter to Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel calling for the ban on the sale and home delivery of non-essential goods via eCommerce to be lifted, in order to assist small businesses that were on the brink of collapse.

“We would argue that by allowing all goods – including those deemed to be non-essential – to be transported domestically by professional courier companies, will allow many businesses to continue to operate and provide a valuable service to society while not adding undue risk to the further spread of the virus,” reads the letter signed by about 4 000 companies.

Amazon.com has been one of the stand-out performers in the current market, driven by consumers’ reliance on the eCommerce platform during the lockdown.

Amazon shares climbed 5.3 percent to a record high on Tuesday, lifting founder Jeff Bezos’s net worth to $138.5 billion (about R2.6 trillion).

BUSINESS REPORT 

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