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Businesses bemoan road closures

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Government offices will close at 9.30am today and the Sol Plaatje municipal offices will only open at lunchtime today

LOCAL businesses affected by road closures for Armed Forces Day will suffer financially as they will not be able to trade today, and the CEO of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci), Sharon Steyn, said yesterday that businesses wanted to lodge claims for loss of income.

“While this event (Armed Forces Day) is fantastic for Kimberley and all guest houses and hotels have been fully booked, business will suffer. Businesses would like to know who will be held responsible, as they still have to pay rent and salaries despite being forced to close their doors for the day, due to the logistical nightmare, where customers will not be able to access the entrances to their businesses,” said Steyn.

She added that delivery trucks that travelled from Johannesburg and other centres were unable to drop off goods at big businesses and had been forced to turn back over the past few days.

Meanwhile, government offices will close at 9.30am today and the Sol Plaatje municipal offices will only open at lunchtime today.

Spokesperson for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, said that due to the road closures, their offices would be inaccessible.

“Upon the instruction of the municipal manager, the offices will only open at 1pm today.

“All other services, including refuse collection, water services and sanitation, will continue as normal.”

He added that prepaid electricity vouchers could be purchased online or through third-party vendors.

“Please be advised that tomorrow (today) is not a public holiday. As a host city, we are to ensure that the celebrations are successful.”

The heads of provincial government departments have been advised to release government staff from 9.30am this morning to “allow them to experience” Armed Forces Day.

Public servants will be required to line the streets during the parades.

Departments were instructed to “make internal arrangements” for those providing essential services.

Spokesperson for the Premier’s Office, Monwabisi Nkompela, indicated that no services would be shut down today.

“With the Province hosting this big event, we have made arrangements for public servants to attend.”

It will, however, be business as usual for the courts, despite the road closures.

Acting regional head at the Department of Justice, advocate De Alto Plaatjies, said the regional and district courts would continue as scheduled.

“Court rolls will not be affected. We do not foresee any challenges in transporting inmates to the courts but will make the necessary arrangements if needed.”

Cases under way at the Northern Cape High Court will also not be disrupted by the Armed Forces Day celebrations.