Home News Sol limits trading hours for tuck shops, supermarkets

Sol limits trading hours for tuck shops, supermarkets

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This comes after several tuck shops were shut down by the police over the weekend amidst confusion about whether they were allowed to operate and for what hours.

THE SOL Plaatje Municipality has issued a notice stipulating trading hours for tuck shops and supermarkets during the 21-day lockdown period.

According to the notice, all tuck shops and supermarkets in the city will have their trading hours limited to 8am to 6pm on Monday to Friday and from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The notice, signed by the acting municipal manager, Thabo Mabija, and dated March 31, 2020, states further that only tuck shops and supermarkets with a “valid Certificate and Acceptability” will be allowed to operate.

This comes after several tuck shops were shut down by the police over the weekend amidst confusion about whether they were allowed to operate and for what hours.

In some instances, tuck shop owners said they were told that they were not allowed to operate at all as the regulations only referred to supermarkets and spaza shops, while others indicated that they had been informed by the police that they could only operate for a limited number of hours in the morning and again in the late afternoon.

Police officials in unmarked vehicles visited several tuck shops, forcing them to close, as well as confiscating cigarettes. According to the tuck shop owners, they were not given any explanation by the police except that they had to close their doors immediately.

Attempts to obtain clarity on operating hours for tuck shops by the media also drew a blank as no one was prepared to go on record.

Many residents were unhappy at the restrictions imposed on tuck shops, pointing out that they offered a valuable service in reducing the movement of residents to shopping centres to buy necessities like bread and milk.

Most tuck shop owners in Kimberley are Ethiopian and Somalian nationals, with a few South Africans.

Although some owners said yesterday that they were not aware of the notice issued by the Sol Plaatje Municipality, they stated that they did not have a choice but to adhere to the regulations.

One Galeshewe tuck shop owner, Emran Hoossain, said he was aware of the regulations but added that he was afraid of losing business to other tuck shops that were ignoring the stipulated trading hours.

“The police and the municipality must enforce the restrictions on all tuck shops so that it applies equally to everyone. Some tuck shops open whenever they feel like it and it is not fair on those who abide by the regulations and who lose out on trade as a result,” said Hoossain.

“I ended up closing later because the tuck shop over the road was also closing late and police were not doing anything about it,” he added.

Another tuck shop owner in Santa, Feitjie Mier, said she had been trying to get confirmation regarding the operating hours from the police after she was forced to close three times over the weekend.

“It is a good thing that I am a brave South African citizen who knows my rights. They were targeting me and forcing me to close my shop, while shops owned by foreign nationals remained open until late at night. It is a pity that as South Africans we cannot work together and share information like the other nationals do,” she said.