Government allows (a little) more e-commerce

But you still can’t buy cigarettes.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Image: GCIS

The members of the National Coronavirus Command Council looked ragged, as they gave a nearly three-hour long press briefing on the regulations governing the Covid-19 Level 4 restrictions on Wednesday.

The Level 4 regulations are set to go into effect on May 1, and are the first steps out of the total lockdown, which has seen 58 million South Africans staying at home since March 27 as a way to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus that has claimed 225 000 lives around the world, and infected 5 350 people in South Africa.

The lockdown is meant to give SA time to ramp up its health service to deal with thousands of critically ill people but comes at the cost of bringing an already struggling economy to a virtual standstill.

On Friday the country will take its first tentative steps towards starting up the economy, while still trying to manage the spread of the virus.

Economy starts up

The Level 4 restrictions will open the way for a broader range of retail chains like DIY stores to start operating, as well allowing e-commerce chains to sell a wider range of goods including winter clothes and warm meals. Under the regulations the agricultural sector will not only become fully operational but also be allowed to export products like wine, which according to Vinpro, was losing R200 million a week.

Read: SA allows wine exports to resume as lockdown eases

The regulations also open the way for about 30% of the manufacturing sector to start operating and some sectors of the construction sector head back to work.

Despite opening the way for increased economic activity, the regulations have come in for some sharp criticism, especially around Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel’s initial reluctance to allow more goods to be sold online.

The government eventually decided to allow more goods to be sold through e-commerce after reviewing the 70 000 submissions, which were sent to it by the public over the past two days.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who headed the briefing, said that although the draft regulations were released on Saturday, government felt that it could improve if the public was allowed to comment on it.

This is why, according to Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, members of the command council looked so tired, as they had not slept for “quite some days”, while weighing up the public submissions on the regulations.

Submissions make a difference 

Patel said that opening up the process to the public had had a marked effect. “We had a short but very valuable consultation process. We were reading through the proposals from Saturday afternoon right through to late last night.”

He said some of the proposals had given them food for thought and would likely be introduced under amendments to Level 4 regulations or when the country goes into Level 3.

Not all of the changes to the regulations have been applauded. Some smokers were especially aggrieved after President Cyril Ramaphosa initially said people would be allowed to purchase tobacco products under Level 4. Dlamini-Zuma said this decision was reversed after 2 000 submissions were received asking to maintain the ban.

She did, however, say that the 22 000 submissions calling on the state to relax the prohibition on exercising in the streets were heard. Runners, dog walkers, and cyclists will be permitted to exercise in public pending certain restrictions, one of which dictate that this may only be done so between 6am and 9am.

Level 4 for a while

How long SA will be at Level 4 is an open question. Patel says this depends on a range of measures like the number of tests done, how well businesses are managing and the health system’s ability to cope. It will then be up to Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize to make his recommendation to Dlamini-Zuma, whereafter it will be discussed in Cabinet.

Patel indicated that the country will not be relaxing regulations anytime soon. “Level 4 will prepare the economy for the next 6 to 8 months.”

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It took 6 minutes to get 2000 signatures to lift the ban on cigarettes on the Change.org petition and in half an hour 11000. Total now close to 300 000. They have pd-off a lot of people. Mostly good law abiding citizens.

TSK!!!!!!

Oh. And which politically connected family stands to benefit the most from the sale of illegal cigarettes? Who made the decision and the announcement? That’s the clue.

LOOT-TOOLey-house have their fingers securely into the illicit cigarette pie.

I’ve never smoked, but forget about the cigarette lock-down being lifted. Self-confessed tobacco smuggler, Adriano Mazotti, funded NDZ’s election campaign in 2007. Go and Google the Times Live article and see for yourself. The smugglers are coining it at present, and Mazotti’s puppet, NDZ has just ensured that this happy situation for the smugglers will continue.

It has also become clear that the president is no longer in power. The fact that a minister can embarrass him in public by overruling his promises, shows that either there’s been a palace revolution within the ANC, or Ramaphosa has never really been the leader in anything but name.

I wonder if this command unit has a brain cell amongst them – there is little evidence that they are capable of rationalizing anything. You can now jog/run/cycle/walk your neighborhood streets between 6.00 – 9.00 a.m. – so wouldn’t this run contrary to social distancing. Maintenance and repairs can be done to roads – where’s the social distancing here, and also if you watch these gangs eat/drink on site they frequently pass a single container of tea/coffee amongst themselves
This lockdown has nothing to do with the containment of the virus but everything to do with internal politics within the ANC

Did you not know the virus hides between 06H00 to 09H00? So people who work from early are excluded. You are right about intellect

How long SA will be at Level 4 is an open question. Patel says this depends on a range of measures like the number of tests done, how well businesses are managing and the health system’s ability to cope. It will then be up to Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize to make his recommendation to Dlamini-Zuma, whereafter it will be discussed in Cabinet.

Patel indicated that the country will not be relaxing regulations anytime soon. “Level 4 will prepare the economy for the next 6 to 8 months.”

This says it all. When Guavament says it depends, what they are saying is they have no clue.

Level 4 for the next 6 to 8 months??? Better borrow all the neighboring soldiers you can get SA will crash and burn, the masses will die in their thousands.

This bumbling anc is providing zero certainty to business. Why would I open my manufacturing business when it’s unknown when the buyers of my product will be open? At this rate its likely I won’t have customers to sell anything to ever.

The numbers of infections will inevitably rise. The virus will take its course and thousands will die. It can be slowed at affordable cost but it cannot be stopped. It is what it is. Accept the truth.

The avoidance measures are cosmetic and with scant value. The majority are by now prepared to take their chance. It has been learned already that it has no more impact than a normal flu season and the authorities in many countries are allowing over-stating of the numbers of related deaths and the consequential promotion of an unwarranted degree of fear.

Never before has quarantine been forced upon on humans that are not ill, not even suspected ill. You do not keep well by going into quarantine. Quarantine is to protect those not in the quarantine. Quarantine will weaken your immune system response and increase your susceptibility.

The virus can live for days on many surfaces including plastic. It collects on the face masks. It is on handrails and handles. If you cough it into an intake grill of a ventilation system it will be carried by fast moving air. If the air is recirculating it is spread via all of the outlet grilles. It has more means of transmitting than it is possible to combat.

The forced confinement of the nation is unconstitutional, immoral and criminal. The impact is horrendous and will be felt for a lifetime.
To deny people basic human rights such as the right to earn a living or to smoke a cigarettes or to have a glass of wine with a meal is way beyond controversial, it is an abuse of power. To ignore the consequential harm that these requirements have created is cowardice.
Who is standing up and taking a personal responsibility for the consequences upon this nation? As usual there is no one because they are afraid of the retribution.

The people are not consulted at any stage and their plight continues to be totally ignored whilst further extensions to the insanely cruel and myopic demands of the few are imposed by their military upon the civilian population who seem to have become the enemy.

And now the requirements for relief are not explained and are still being dreamed up.

For Gods sake, just let the people do the basic precautions and get on with their life. Stop the madness.

Great summary. MW saw fit to not allow my comment on another article earlier to- day in terms of the book FAKE. It is no use having brilliant medical people, I am in a specialist surgical field and respect them , but the problem is they may well be part of the problem. I hear it daily about the disaster developing pushing people in to abject poverty, hunger and destitution. No point being in a job which the taxpayer secures for you but you help sinking SMEs and push people into hopelessness. Stop this ruddy madness. I hardly know any doctor supporting this any longer – take the precautions and get on with life

Gargoyl, i couldn’t have put it better. 100%.

A video clip of the honourable minister is going around in which she is quoted saying: “The regulations will be published on Thursday, which is before Friday”.
Now, who would have thought that Thursday actually comes before Friday?

Lol.. At least she never said vibrator instead of ventilator..another video clip doing the rounds…

Another ZUMA debacle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When will these people just retire and let the country prosper???????????

If they don’t get to a Level 3 scenario quickly this country is finished, the economy destroyed. As it is many businesses will go to the wall even when the reopening occurs.

Businesses like restaurants, hairdressers and others that are based on a model of getting as many people into their retail space as possible will now have to reduce that space by half in order to allow for distancing. How will they survive on half the trade? For many it will not be feasible. When half the businesses in a mall are forced to close, that mall will not be feasible, and on it will snowball.

This pandemic is going to be a total disaster for small businesses and government is doing nothing to assist, as always just making it worse.

It gets even worse than you state – with about 1.7 to 2.3 million people losing their jobs over the months to come and at present there will be very few people frequenting places where large numbers normally congregate, malls, entertainment events, restaurants, cinemas, home improvement operations and supermarkets. Then of course there is the huge losses that people will suffer from electronics failures/fraud at point of purchase or online transactions

More will die from the depression than this virus

The Minister is forcing the west side of SA ( Capetonians et al) to exercise in the dark if they want to exercise.

This is extremely dangerous especially as we have to exercise alone !!!

Sunrise is at 07:20 at the moment and most of us start work at 8:00

Could the Western Cape or Cape Town City not ask for additional time to exercise outdoors midday or evening

Gosh Robot, you are requiring a high level of intelligence and rational thinking now. You do know you are dealing with the Command Centre Cadres?

I see myself as an intelligent person that is too old to leave this Godforsaken hell pit. So, what logic is there in any of her nonsensical statements? The only logic I see is to remove the tripartite alliance in totality, with the EFF thrown in for good measure.

She said elsewhere that they will reduce Level 4 in future depending on the reduction of infection numbers. Boy oh boy, is the current regime in for a surprise! And wait until it comes to tax collection as well.

Can’t wait to do my VAT for March and April, paying nearly zero will be some consolation for the lost revenue.

Mine very near zero . Make Mr Mboweni president ASAP, please fot the sake of the poor

Please fire this zuma lady.

She missed the vote for the Presidency with something like 2%-3%.

It’s scary to think that people of such low intellect are making life-changing decisions for the rest of us.

End of comments.

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