File photo: Reuters
File photo: Reuters

LETTER: Over-regulation strangling small businesses like pharmacies

By Michael Bagraim Time of article published Jun 19, 2019

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I was most interested to read the mail from Kasavan Naidoo in Durban. I am extremely sympathetic with the independent pharmacist and especially someone who has been trying hard to make a living from a small business.

Like Naidoo, my late father ran a small pharmacy in the Gardens area in Cape Town for 45 years. My dad worked 14 hours a day, six days a week throughout that period and only took one holiday during that time. 

The loyal patients knew that they could rely on their medications to be delivered at any time with careful handwritten notes as to how to and when to take them. My father was responsible to ensure his seven staff members were well paid and had the wherewithal to look after their respective families. 

Nearing the end of his career, he was forced to close the pharmacy as the harsh regulatory environment had destroyed the ability to make any profit. Unfortunately, it appears that in South Africa we are so over-regulated that we are strangling small business. 

Naidoo has mentioned a few ways in which the regulations could be curtailed to ensure that he survives. I wish him much strength and hopefully his letter can be distributed to the authorities, including to the council for medical schemes. 

Naidoo needs allies like all other small businesses. We know that it is small businesses that will be the future engine for job creation and we also know that they need to be supported in every possible way. 

Michael Bagraim

Cape Town

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