Covid-19 lockdown: DA takes on Patel as he 'overstepped' on cooked food regulations
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CAPE TOWN - There is nothing in the amended coronavirus (Covid-19) regulations that bans the production or sale of cooked food and Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has "overstepped his powers" in this regard, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
"Yesterday [Saturday], I wrote to Trade, Industry, and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel asking him to furnish me the legal advice he relied on to pronounce that cooked food is not allowed ‘as the law stands’," DA shadow minister of trade and industry Dean Macpherson said in a statement.
"In the amended lockdown regulations, there is nothing that prohibits the production or sale of cooked food, and thus the DA believes that the minister has overstepped his powers by simply pronouncing that retailers may not sell cooked or prepared food," he said.
This absurd determination by Patel was illogical and ill-considered. It followed a pattern of late by certain ministers which sought to de-legitimise the lockdown by advancing regulations that made no sense and were not found in law.
The latest pronouncement by government would have detrimental consequences for frontline healthcare workers, members of the security services, essential service workers, and transport workers, such as truck drivers, who rely on cooked food due to the work they were doing.
This would also be particularly devastating for the elderly who may be unable to cook food due to their frailty.
Therefore, the DA had given Patel until 5pm on Sunday to explain in writing what his rationale was to summarily pronounce on the regulations to ban the sale of cooked or prepared food.
"At the same time, we are also consulting with our legal team to obtain a legal opinion on the legality of minister Patel’s actions. We can not allow ministers to arbitrarily undermine the lockdown by acting outside of the mandate, which is what we are now currently seeing," Macpherson said.