Home News City tuck shops shut down for not having permits

City tuck shops shut down for not having permits

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Some tuck shop owners indicated that they were arrested and taken to the police station cells after their business premises and identity documents were inspected by law enforcement agents.

TUCK shops in Kimberley that were shut down for not having valid permits to operate during the lockdown period, said that they would incur damages amounting to thousands of rand after stocking up on supplies.

Some tuck shop owners indicated that they were arrested and taken to the police station cells after their business premises and identity documents were inspected by law enforcement agents.

A group of tuck shop owners operating in the CBD, Galeshewe, Roodepan and Beaconsfield said that they were turned away when they went to Sol Plaatje Municipality on Saturday to apply for written permits.

“The police said that we would only be allowed to trade if we possessed a special permit but no one was available to issue the documents. We also have to obtain a health certificate but the offices are closed. Many of the regulations were implemented and amended after the lockdown started, why were we not forewarned about the new requirements,” the tuck shop owners asked.

One of the tuck shop owners, Smanga Scheepers, said that he was stopped from operating on two occasions by the police when he sold fresh vegetables that were loaded onto the back of his bakkie.

“Now all my stock that I paid for will rot if I can’t sell it. The previous time I tried to apply for the permit, the municipal offices were closed. I advised the police to arrest me, so that I can explain myself in court,” said Scheepers on Saturday.

He added that he would also face arrest if he did not continue trading. “I will be locked up if I don’t pay maintenance amounting to R12 500 for all my children.”

Tuck shop owners believed that it was unfair that only certain tuck shops were issued with permits, after amendments were made to include informal food vendors.

Ali Zafar, who runs a tuck shop at the taxi rank in town, stated that while they were prohibited from trading this weekend, they would still have to pay the fresh produce market on Monday. 

J Lalla stated that spaza shops would have to close permanently if they were not allowed to operate over the lockdown period.

“We save residents from having to catch a taxi into town and stand in long queues in order to buy their groceries. It also assists in preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. We have mouths to feed and bills to pay. We spent our capital on stocking up our shops to provide the community and elderly who cannot travel into town.”

Another business owner, Lance Jones, added that he complied with all the regulations and only needed a permit to continue operating.

“We have hand sanitisers and make sure that customers adhere to social distancing. We have bread, milk, fresh vegetables and other basic foodstuffs. Perishable foodstuffs that we stocked up on will go rotten and we do not have insurance to cover these losses.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said that all legal tuck shop owners were informed of the regulations and requirements to trade during the lockdown period. 

According to a memorandum on special trading permits, grocery stores, wholesale produce markets including spaza shops and informal food traders will be allowed to operate, provided that they obtain written permission from a municipal authority.

Informal food traders are expected to wear masks and gloves at all times, sanitise their customers and accommodate health care workers and the vulnerable.

It warned that informal food traders without a valid permit and a valid certificate of acceptability that was issued by the health section of Sol Plaatje Municipality could be closed down by law enforcement agencies conducting patrols.

It stated that the local economic development offices are open from Monday to Saturday from 8.30am until 12.30pm for informal traders to apply for special trading permits.