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COVID-19 lockdown: spaza shops and hawkers, which is which?

By Andile Mngxitama

Following President Ramaphosa’s announcement last week of the 21 days national lockdown and the subsequent intervention measures to support SMMEs affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of confusion prevails regarding  the business operations of the spaza shops and hawkers in the townships. Check this:

1. The Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola says spaza shops must be allowed to operate.
2. The Small Business Development Minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says only South African-owned and operated spaza shops – of which only those who have permits – would be allowed to operate. She’s basically say that 90% of the spaza shops which are foreign owned and another 5% or more who don’t have permits must be shut down.
3. President Ramaphosa says remove the hawkers from the streets.
4. The police and army shut down spaza shops, remove hawkers and forcibly prevent people from buying from them.
5. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, says spaza shops and informal food traders, with permits, are allowed to operate.

What the fuck is going on?

Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.

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