‘Businesses need every hour to keep their doors open’: Cape Town calls for a change in curfew time

The City of Cape Town has written to co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma asking for the current national curfew to be pushed back to 11pm.

The City of Cape Town has asked co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to change the current starting time of the curfew from 9pm to 11pm.
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Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, Alderman James Vos, said a later starting time for the curfew may “save what is left of the hospitality sector”.

The curfew under lockdown adjustzed level 3, announced last month by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was from 9pm to 6am. Ramaphosa announced last week that it would be shed by an hour, ending at 5am.

“I have written to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, to implore her to consider and lobby for the lifting of the current curfew of 21:00 to 23:00,” said Vos in a statement.

“I have been inundated with calls and correspondence from desperate businesses in hospitality, manufacturing, retail and SMMEs across the business value chain, including the Cape Chamber of Commerce and the Federated Hospitality Association of SA (Fedhasa), who, after just managing to survive the first round of lockdowns, are now facing closure due to having to close their doors at 20:00.”

According to Vos, losing trading hours every night has pushed many businesses to the brink, with many not being able to retain customers, pay bills, or keep staff employed.

“While the full extent of the various lockdowns on business closures and job losses is yet to be established, thousands of businesses and jobs have potentially been lost or are at risk. These businesses need every hour to keep their doors open, retain and create jobs,” he said.

Vos said the Western Cape was seeing a decrease in Covid-19 infections and that livelihoods should be prioritised.

“I am reassured and do so on the basis of the extensive health and safety protocols implemented by this industry, which I have seen first-hand through my many visits.

“I am confident that by extending the [starting time of the] curfew by just two hours to 11pm, on the strict condition of the implementation of the necessary health and safety measures, we will be able to give these sectors the lifeline they so desperately need to stay viable and save jobs,” said Vos.

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

Unathi Nkanjeni