Ben Pieters

Yesterday 20 April the good Dr NDZ, CogTA Minister of South Africa, issued amended regulations under the Disaster Management Act 2002.

The amendment regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) seeks to clarify the exclusion of hot cooked food from the classification of essential goods.

The following holes in this amendment are immediately apparent:

  • Hot cooked food may not be sold, but has to be allowed to cool down / become cold first. However, no objective specifications are provided regarding the actual temperature below which is would be legal to sell such food.
  • No mention is made of grilled, fried, poached or braai’d food that may also be offered for sale. Are these allowed to be sold hot or not?
  • Unfortunately many businesses are not prepared to take a chance on these badly worded regulations for fear of being closed down, and are adhering to it.

The net result is that those who are most in need of hot food, are denied access.

The sad and tragic consequence of this shortsightedness of Government is that poor kids and the elderly, who usually do not have the means to reheat the food, are suffering.

Sakeliga says “Thousands of people, especially essential service providers such as supermarket staff, maintenance workers and medical workers rely on warm prepared food on a daily basis.”

It’s clear that the regulations are increasingly applied in an arbitrary manner without the issue being properly analysed. These ministers and officials have nice, cosy jobs, earn good salaries and are well fed. They however have little understanding of what it’s like to be unemployed, living in squatter conditions and going to bed hungry.

CIPC in a high-handed manner and without complete facts is aiding these processes. They are withdrawing the essential services certificates issued to numerous businesses who are meeting the needs of the poor through transforming their operations into bakeries, etc.