Covid-19: R28 million a day lost each time Tshwane market closed
Pretoria - R28 million a day – that's the amount lost by producers and traders every time the Tshwane Fresh Produce Market is closed down to deal with the threat of Covid-19.
This was according to the DA in Gauteng, which warned the City of Tshwane against closing down the market every time a coronavirus case was discovered, saying the move was costly.
The criticism came after the City temporarily shut the market last week after a worker tested positive for the virus.
The market was reopened on Saturday after the City thoroughly disinfected the premises in line with the Department of Health regulations.
DA member of the provincial legislature, Ina Cilliers, also the party's spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development, said the City would have opted to close off the affected sections of the market as a better approach.
"Whilst it is understandable that health and safety protocols must be followed, the DA calls on the City to urgently reassess their pandemic response for the market.
"If the entire market is shut down every time a case of Covid-19 is confirmed, it will have devastating consequences for producers and traders to the tune of up to R28m a day," Cilliers said.
She lamented the fact that farmers, who came to the market, were turned away "with virtually no notice and perishable produce was left abandoned on the market floor".
"A responsible and caring government will be mindful of the impact of their actions on the thousands of daily users of the market. It is not always possible or affordable to simply deliver at another market, especially for small and emerging producers," she said.
Cilliers intended to table questions in the legislature "to ascertain what measures have been put in place to assist farmers who may be affected by the closure of the Tshwane Fresh Produce Market".
"Food insecurity at household level in Gauteng is already on the increase as a result of the unreasonable lockdown.
"We, therefore, need local and provincial authorities to be mindful in their policy responses and to ensure that farmers and traders are able to deliver food at all times,"she said.