Citizen reporter
1 minute read
14 May 2020
5:31 pm

You can now buy anything but tobacco and booze online

Citizen reporter

With immediate effect, it has now been legalised for online stores to sell anything other than booze and cigarettes under level 4 restrictions.

Stock image

New regulations specify that buyers and sellers will have to meet sanitation and preventive healthcare requirements to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

The government had been facing heavy criticism for shutting down e-commerce, allowing only essential goods, with Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel having argued that e-commerce would have been unfair towards other businesses not trading online, such as spaza shops.

Spaza shops will now, however, be allowed to make deliveries through couriers, with an entry reading that “courier or delivery service” means a company, an employee of that company or a person who delivers goods from one place or person to another place or person, and may include the delivery divisions of retailers and delivery services set up by spaza shops and informal traders.

“e-Commerce can be a critical enabler to opening the economy through contactless transactions, which can reduce the movement of consumers, and the density of shoppers in retail spaces. Further it can accelerate innovation, support local manufacturing and increase access by the informal market and poorer South Africans,” according to the government notice.

Online stores will be expected to promote local goods by giving “prominence to those goods which are manufactured in the Republic of South Africa”.

Retailers will have to provide written guidelines to their customers “on how to safely disinfect their goods before use”.

People will also need to wear masks when receiving goods from couriers.

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