South Africa’s lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus began on the midnight of last Thursday. The 21-day confinement was, at the least, necessary since the country has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa.
However, it appears some businesses do not intend to close up shop for 3 weeks. As such, they’ve resorted to using fake certificates which present them as providers of essential services. Recall that banks, pharmacies, health centers, food businesses and petrol stations are exempted from South Africa’s lockdown.
These businesses are currently using this loophole to circumvent the process, acquiring illegal documents to place themselves in the essential services category. The activities have now been brought to the notice of the country’s Department of Labour and Employment.
The organization, in response, has vowed to wield a mighty axe on these businesses that are intentionally flouting its laws. The Department is and will continue to conduct what it calls “blitz inspections” to clamp down on businesses breaching the national order.
The first batch of the inspections took place yesterday (March 30th) around major retail outlets in the central business district of Pretoria—South Africa’s administrative capital.
The perusal will also focus on whether or not employees are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Apparently, some employers are forcing staff to work without providing them with the necessary protective equipment.
“Our Labour Inspectors are following up—largely, at the moment, in Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN. The inspectors are also finding violations of existing health and safety regulations. Indeed, a retail outlet and a manufacturing plant were closed down on day one of the lockdown,” labor minister Thulas Nxesi said.
As the world tries to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, governments have directed for the lockdown of major cities. All African countries affected have instilled a confinement policy in one way or the other.
However, defaulters emerge. In Lagos, for example, the police put several pastors in custody for holding church activities despite a state directive to do otherwise. Gatherings are to be kept below 20 people, yet Lagos State Police Command detained 3 pastors for flouting the directive.
Yesterday (March 30th) South Africa’s National Treasury introduced a new tax subsidy of 500 rand (USD 28) per month for each worker to employers for the next four months to cushion financial losses suffered by firms due to the coronavirus.
Featured Image: Olatorera