Patel trims list of clothing that may be sold under level 4
PRETORIA - Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has drawn more criticism after he narrowly defined the categories of winter clothes, shoes and homeware that may be sold during level 4 of the national lockdown.
The regulations gazetted by Patel limit the footwear that stores are permitted to sell to "closed toe" shoes, trainers and slippers.
They furthermore specify that the sale of cropped pants is allowed, but only if these items are meant to be worn with winter shoes and hose.
“The publication of these directions results from Minister Patel’s consultative meeting with industry leaders in the clothing, textile, footwear and leather sector held last Tuesday. All members of the industry master plan adopted it in November last year,” said the Department of Trade and Industry.
The department said the retail industry had requested that Patel gazette a list to spell out which items were allowed, and it was compiled with input from industry stakeholders.
The list includes all baby and toddler clothing and footwear; children’s wear, school wear and school shoes; maternity wear; adult sleepwear and gowns; adult underwear; boots, slippers, sneakers and trainers; adult active wear, knitwear, jackets and coats, and bedding. Electric blankets are allowed.
Patel said the engagement with the industry had been positive. He urged shoppers to favour South African-made items.
“I call on consumers to look for South African-made products, made proudly by local workers, so that we can rebuild the economy," he said.
"The manufacturing and retail sector has been through a very difficult time and the resumption of clothing sales under level 4 of the new risk-adjusted approach will assist to provide greater levels of production and commerce in the sector.”
The official opposition Democratic Alliance said the time had come for President Cyril Ramaphosa to dismiss Patel, who has also drawn fire for refusing to allow e-commerce under level 4.
"These new clothing regulations are, frankly, mad and seem more at place during the 1980s under the Soviet Union than they do in a democracy like South Africa," the DA's trade and industry spokesperson, Dean Macpherson, said.
"It is now beyond doubt that Minister Patel is running amok without any restraint from President Ramaphosa. He has been allowed to pick winners and losers in the economy, to determine what is 'fair' and now has gone to the extreme to determine what clothes people can buy and how they should wear them.
"The president should now step up to the plate and sack Patel without delay."