Onus on businesses to ensure t

Onus on businesses to ensure they comply with revised lockdown regulations

Business alliance says some regulations are now more stringent, but others are still unclear after latest announcements.

Onus on businesses to ensure t

Business for South Africa, an alliance of South Africa business bodies and organisations, has issued a warning to business owners that the onus is on them to ensure that they are compliant with the latest regulations for trading during lockdown.

The organisation, also known as B4SA, made the announcement on Saturday 18 April in the wake of amendments to the trading regulations during lockdown, which were implemented earlier this week.

Some regulations are more stringent or remain unclear

“In some respects, the restrictions imposed by the regulations have been eased or formulated with more specificity; but in other respects, the restrictions have become more stringent or remain unclear,” B4SA said.

“The onus, therefore, lies on business owners and operators to tread carefully when reopening or extending their offerings to ensure that they do not trade illegally and expose themselves to possible prosecution.”

Definition of ‘basic goods’ has not been clarified

Daniel Pretorius, legal adviser to B4SA, said that uncertainty still exists as key issues, such as the meaning of ‘basic goods’, have not been clarified. There is, therefore, very limited scope for selling items not specifically listed as essential goods.

“There has also been no further direction regarding registration as an essential service provider. B4SA believes that this process remains voluntary and that registration does not convert a business which does not provide essential goods or services into one that complies with the regulations,” Pretorius noted.

“We therefore recommend that businesses act cautiously and ensure that they are in fact compliant and that they provide employee permits only to staff members who are actually needed to provide essential services.”

Certificates obtained prior to April 17 are now invalid

According to Pretorius, companies that obtained certificates before 17 April are required to hold revised certificates as those issued before this date will no longer be valid. The new certificates are to be displayed from Monday 20 April.

“The Minister indicated that registration on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website is only available for businesses registered as companies. This does not prohibit other businesses, such as sole proprietors, from providing essential services provided that they comply with the regulations.”