One business owner said that only five permits were being issued per day.
MANY informal businesses in Kimberley have not been able to trade during the lockdown as they are still struggling to obtain permits.
Local tuck shop owners said this week – the third week of the nationwide lockdown – that they continued to queue outside the Sol Plaatje municipal offices on a daily basis in an attempt to obtain a permit.
One business owner said that only five permits were being issued per day. “I have been going every day to stand in a long queue for the past 14 days. Without a permit I cannot trade.”
Others complained about the “unfair” manner in which permits were awarded.
The DA in the Northern Cape has called on the Sol Plaatje Municipality to prioritise measures to regulate the informal trading sector after several tuck shops in and around the city were shut down during the national state of disaster.
DA caucus leader at Sol Plaatje Municipality, Christopher Phiri, pointed out that hundreds of tuck shops that had been operating for years without the necessary licences were suddenly closed down during the enforcement of lockdown restrictions.
“For years the Sol Plaatje Municipality has knowingly turned a blind eye to their ongoing illegal trading.”
Phiri stated that up to 95 percent of tuck shops in and around Kimberley were operating without the necessary licences.
“The ultimate impact of Sol Plaatje’s regulatory failure over the years is now proving detrimental to thousands of residents, most notably the poor,” added Phiri.
He pointed out that tuck shops were the main source of food supply for thousands of city residents.
“Those living in informal settlements do not have the financial resources to travel to city supermarkets, let alone stock up on supplies. They instead survive day to day, with a loaf of bread or some beef stock. These tuck shops, unlike formal supermarkets, also allow community members to buy food on credit and pay later.”
Phiri believed that the municipality should assist tuck shops and small businesses to benefit from legal trading.
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie stated that clear procedures had to be followed when applying for an operating permit.
“Before the lockdown, the municipality was attending to all repeat applications received. We are willing to assist with all cases, however, we cannot be reckless and undermine the lockdown by allowing those without proper authorisation to operate outside the framework of the law,” said Matsie.