Ebrahim Patel: Essential goods include baby clothes

The government on Thursday clarified that “essential goods” include baby clothes and blankets.

This follows an urgent application to the Constitutional Court by two nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), the Tebeila Institute of Leadership, Education, Governance and Training and the African Institute for Human Rights and Constitutional Litigation. The application was dismissed by the highest court, which said it was not in the interests of justice to grant direct access.

However, in a media release today, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has attempted to provide clarity.

In the statement, Patel says that, “products for the care of babies and toddlers” are already considered essential goods under the lockdown regulations.

“Following requests for clarification, we confirm that this provision includes baby clothes, blankets, towels and other essential accessories for newborns, infants and toddlers up to 36 months old,” he said.


However, it seems that only stores that are already allowed to be open to sell other essential goods will be allowed to open their aisles for baby clothes: “To ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown in containing the spread of Covid-19, all stores that are currently permitted to remain open for the sale of other essential goods, including supermarkets, may, therefore, sell these products.”

The statement does not clarify whether stores that sell only baby goods are now allowed to open. Nor is it clear whether essential goods include car seats, prams and baby beds — some of the questions raised by the NGOs that approached the Constitutional Court.

Patel, however, said that the government had discussed the pricing of baby items with the chief executives of large retailers: “We have been in contact with the CEOs of the large retailers, who have undertaken to sell these products at prices that simply cover their basic costs of production and distribution for the period of the lockdown. Hospitals and clinics may directly procure these products as necessary to provide for the infants in their care.”

The Constitutional Court’s order said its decision was taken in view of the facts that the regulations provided that essential goods already included baby products and because the NGOs had failed to try other options before approaching the highest court.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Franny Rabkin
Franny Rabkin
Franny is the legal reporter at the Mail & Guardian

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Pandemic hobbles learners’ futures

South African schools have yet to open for the 2021 academic year and experts are sounding the alarm over lost learning time, especially in the crucial grades one and 12

Q&A Sessions: George Euvrard, the brains behind our cryptic crossword

George Euvrard spoke to Athandiwe Saba about his passion for education, clues on how to solve his crosswords and the importance of celebrating South Africa.

More top stories

Inside George Mukhari hospital’s second wave

The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism and James Oatway visited George Mukhari academic hospital to document the second-wave realities experienced by doctors and nurses

Power shift at Luthuli House

Ace Magashule’s move to distance himself from Carl Niehaus signals a rebalancing of influence and authority at the top of the ANC

Trump slinks off world stage, leaving others to put out...

What his supporters and assorted right-wingers will do now in a climate that is less friendly to them is anyone’s guess

The US once again has something  Africa wants: competent leaders

Africa must use its best minds to negotiate a mutually beneficial economic relationship
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…