Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Ban on sale of cooked food far from over

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Apr 20, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG -  Business lobby group Sakeliga says it is disappointed by the manner in which the minister of trade, industry and competition (the dti) has allegedly circumvented their concerns about banning the sale of warm cooked meals at supermarkets. 

This comes after the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma published the amended regulations on Monday clearly banning the purchase and sale of cooked hot food during this lockdown period. 

Sakeliga had last week threatened to take Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel to court unless he ceased and reversed his department’s ban as there was uncertainty around the sale of cooked food as part of the nationwide lockdown restrictions.

Sakeliga’s legal analyst Daniel du Plessis said they were very disappointed to learn of this new development while there were negotiations between parties. 

“It’s very clear that the department was not negotiating in good faith as we have seen they have just issued a new regulation that specifically prohibits warm cooked food,” said du Plessis on SAFM.

“This is a problem because we would think that the minister would take the opportunity to talk to business and hear what we can do to support one another. But instead the department has chosen to go another path and so now the regulations have been amended on very short notice, in a way we still believe is very irrational.”

Du Plessis said they were still getting legal advice on how to proceed with this matter since the regulations were now gazetted. 

Sakeliga on Friday gave Patel until 9am today to provide an undertaking to cease and reverse his pronouncements on the production and sale of “prepared”, “warm” and “cooked” food.
The organisation said the ban was “unlawful, irrational, and harmful obstructions to food production” as it was not gazetted on the government’s National Disaster regulations.

Patel asked Sakeliga for more time until Wednesday to obtain legal advice in order to respond to their concern, but would probably need not to now that 

DA’s spokesperson on trade and industry Dean Macpherson said they were set to approach the North Gauteng High Court and lodge urgent papers to have Patel’s comments declared unlawful as well as seek a personal costs order against him.

“I will now write to Patel through our lawyers requesting the reasons for this ban on cooked and prepared food which should be provided to us by midday on Tuesday, 20 April 2020. We will then be able to decide on our next course of action,” Macpherson said.

BUSINESS REPORT 

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