Patel explains why hot food can't be sold during lockdown

Government gazetted regulations on Monday prohibiting the sale of cooked foods.

Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel at an inter-ministerial briefing on 24 March 2020 detailing how government will respond ahead of and during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said that the decision to halt the selling of hot foods was to restrict people from leaving their homes.

Government gazetted regulations on Monday prohibiting the sale of cooked foods.

The minister said that the decision did not only apply to large supermarkets but also fast food outlets driving township economy.

Patel said that keeping the businesses open increased the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

"Across the country, we have enormous numbers of places selling hot foods and this would create huge numbers of people moving out of bounds to get hot foods and those are vectors of transmission."

SAKELIGA GOING AHEAD WITH LEGAL CHALLENGE

Meanwhile, with government gazetting its decision not to allow the sale of cooked food, business group Sakeliga said that it would continue with its legal bid to have the ban lifted.

Sakeliga said that when their legal team approached government for a response on the sale of cooked food, the Trade and Industry Department asked to be given until Wednesday to respond.

But on Monday, government officially gazetted the regulation prohibiting the sale of these foods.

Sakeliga said that they are disappointed with the route government had taken, adding that it was clear that this decision had already been made at the weekend.

Legal analyst Daniel du Plesiss said that they were still referring this matter to their team.

"There's no real reason to go to court about this so our best-case scenario is the minister acknowledging that the actual activities he's attempting to stop are not prohibited in terms of the regulations and apart from that, there's no real reason to prohibit them and therefore they shouldn't be prohibited."

He said that they hoped to reach an appropriate balance between safety and sustainability together with government.

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