Media release by David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities.
We note the release last night (29 April 2020) of the Covid-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy regulations by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Cooperative Affairs (COGTA), which will allow for the start of the opening up of our economy following the last five weeks of hard lockdown across South Africa.
We are pleased to see that a number of the suggestions that we submitted on Monday (27 April 2020) to COGTA have been included in the final version of the regulations that were released.
- Allowing exports of wine and agro-processed goods, both of which are critical job and GDP contributors to the provincial economy
- Permitting hardware stores to open for the general public and not just for emergency traders
- Permitting the BPO sector to serve a wider market, including the international market
However, we believe that there are still critical aspects which require further clarify and which should still be included under the Alert Level 4 regulations.
We are encouraged that Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, is committed to further enagagement on the regulations having stated last night that they “will be giving some of the proposals further thought, including engaging with representative organisations,” and so we will continue to engage actively with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition to push for additional amendments in the regulations.
Specifically, we will continue to motivate for the following to be allowed, subject to suitable health guidelines:
- The export of other products such as yachts and boats, engine parts, plants and herbal products and any other products deemed essential in another country
- Manufacturing to operate at 50% capacity where it is safe to do
- The construction industry to be fully opened, especially where there is minimal labour and more use of capital equipment
- e-Commerce to open fully
- Certain speciality businesses, like nurseries and bakeries, to open for trade
- The film industry to operate utilising local labour and inputs
We firmly believe that if done responsibly, the economy in the Western Cape can open up while preventing the spread of Covid-19. We are committed to supporting business in the Western Cape through this crisis. That is why we are finalising a set of health guidelines for business informed by the Department of Health. We are also actively working to unpack the regulations so that we can help to advise businesses if they are permitted to operate under Level 4.
And finally, we will be providing guidance to businesses on what to do if a staff member displays symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.