Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Parliamentary Committee on Small Business Development has called on all municipalities to assist eligible informal traders to comply with their COVID-19 trading regulations.

This follows the directions issued by Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, which are in line with the amendments to the regulations on the COVID-19 lockdown. These were published in the Government Gazette by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on 2 April 2020.

The amendments are aimed at assisting small businesses, including corner shops, spazas, fruit and vegetable stores, as well as the informal trading sub-sector.

According to the amendment regulations, all spaza shop owners and informal food traders must hold permits issued by their respective local municipalities, allowing them to trade.

Committee chairperson Violet Siwela said the committee has been made aware that some municipal offices are closed and informal traders were turned away.

“It has further come to our attention that some municipalities are declining applications from eligible informal traders, who are properly registered on the municipal databases. We call upon COGTA to investigate such cases,” Siwela said.

The committee welcomed the amended regulations and urged informal traders to meet the conditions of the regulations, thereby ensuring that they carry permits at all times to perform essential services as contemplated in regulation 11(B)(3).

“The country is facing an unprecedented crisis, which calls for all of us to remain calm. However, we are confident that the scaled up support to small business and informal traders, where government has negotiated discounted prices at some wholesalers, will go a long way to bring stability to the sector,” Siwela said.

The committee has also implored all small businesses and informal traders to exercise social distancing practices and observe health measures issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department of Health. –