Firms that are able to continue remote operations should do so
“The lockdown regulations published earlier this evening, prohibiting remote business operations, are in direct conflict with statements by President Cryil Ramaphosa. Sakeliga absolutely agrees with the President when he said on Sunday that ‘businesses that are able to continue their operations remotely should do so’.”
So says Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga, an independent business organisation representing a business network of more than 15 000 companies, businesspeople and local chambers of commerce.
Sakeliga has now requested the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to issue, as a matter of extreme urgency, correction of the error contained in the lockdown regulations published earlier this evening.
Section 11B(1)(b) of the “lockdown regulations” states that “All businesses and other entities shall cease operation during the lockdown, save for any business or entity involved in … essential good(s) and service(s).” Read with sub-regulation 11G, it would be a criminal offence for any person who attempts to conduct business remotely, even whilst complying in all other respects with the regulations issued under the Disaster Management Act.
“The provision prohibiting remote operations is what must certainly be an oversight, given the clear statements by the President to the contrary. However, it is of grave concern that these kinds of errors are published in a time when clarity is essential, and when everything possible should be done to prevent the lockdown from shutting down the economy. Shutting down the economy would be to heap social catastrophe on medical crisis, a situation of double harm that should be absolutely avoided,” says Le Roux.
“We trust that these mistaken regulations represent a bona fide error and that the Minister will correct them urgently. The matter is extremely serious and will add to public confusion and economic harm at a time when distractions are simply unaffordable,” Le Roux concludes.
Other lockdown regulations
Sakeliga’s team of researchers and legal advisors are currently analysing the complete lockdown regulation document, which includes further problematic provisions, and will offer further information and statements tomorrow.