The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year saw SA implement several protective measures, including stages of the lockdown which limited the number of people in gatherings and operating hours for certain venues.

The ban of sales of alcohol and cigarettes were some of the regulations that businesses and citizens objected to.

Here are five of them:

Cigarettes ban

The South African Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) and a tobacconist called on the government to lift the ban on the sale of tobacco in May last year, citing its impact on the livelihoods of traders and the prevalence of illicit trade.

Saita said by banning the sale of cigarettes, the government was allowing illicit trade to thrive while traders lost livelihoods.

Warren Dreyer of JJ Cale Tobacconists said at the time the future of his businesses which employed over 100 people hung in the balance. He said illegal traders were making money at the expense of real businesses.

“Government has enabled this shift — and it is deeply worrying, on every level. We urgently call on government to listen to the people whom they serve, but also to their own ministerial advisers and experts, who are calling for a sensible lifting of the ban,” he said.

Church closures 

In January this year, police cracked down on a crowd of about 250 people who violated regulations and gathered for a church service in Sebokeng.

Two church leaders were arrested for contravening level 3 lockdown regulations. A 62-year old woman was arrested for a similar contravention and an additional charge of public violence.

ACDP president Rev Kenneth Meshoe said it was unfair that churches were not allowed to operate while casinos, restaurants, movie theatres and shopping malls were allowed to open.

Beach ban 

Western Cape premier Alan Winde called on president Cyril Ramaphosa to unban people from going on beaches, saying outdoor activities provided good ventilation.

He said the ban coupled with the curfew and booze ban had a catastrophic impact on the province’s economy and threatened the livelihoods of hundreds.

B booze ban 

In July this year, the Beer Association of SA (Basa) said the previous lockdowns including stage 5 had cost it 7,400 jobs in the beer industry alone, R14.2bn in lost beer sales revenue and a more than R7.8bn loss in taxes and excise duties.

The association also cited illicit trade as one of their main concerns, saying the looting in parts of KZN and Gauteng contributed to the industry collapse.

National state of Disaster 

The national state of disaster was introduced in March last year to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. It is still in place as Co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has extended it until December 15.

Winde has, on several occasions called on the government to terminate it. Winde said the national state of disaster was crippling the economy in the Western Cape.

“If we want to recover and create jobs, we can’t be in a state of disaster indefinitely. That’s why I asked for transparency on the road map to end it. Given the response received today, it is clear that there is no plan. This is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently,” he said.



By Daniel

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