According to reports, there is nothing in the amended COVID-19 regulations that ban the production or sale of cooked food.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday that Trade Industry and Competition Minister, Ebrahim Patel, has “overstepped his powers” in this regard.
DA shadow minister of trade and industry, Dean Macpherson, said in a statement, “Yesterday [Saturday], I wrote to Trade, Industry, and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel asking him to furnish me the legal advice he relied on to pronounce that cooked food is not allowed ‘as the law stands’,”
“In the amended lockdown regulations, there is nothing that prohibits the production or sale of cooked food, and thus the DA believes that the minister has overstepped his powers by simply pronouncing that retailers may not sell cooked or prepared food,” he said.
Patel’s decision was reportedly seen as unfavourable for frontline healthcare workers, members of the security service, essential service workers and transport workers, who often rely on cooked food due to the long hours of work they do.
This may also affect the elderly who are unable to cook food due to their frailty.
The DA gave Patel until 5 pm on Sunday to explain, in writing, what his reasoning was to ban the sale of cooked or prepared food, as part of the regulations.
“At the same time, we are also consulting with our legal team to obtain a legal opinion on the legality of minister Patel’s actions. We cannot allow ministers to arbitrarily undermine the lockdown by acting outside of the mandate, which is what we are currently seeing,” Macpherson said.