The City of Cape Town has requested that the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma extend the current curfew from 9pm to 11pm. It believes that longer operating hours for businesses will help the local economy.
MayCo Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos revealed he had written a request to Dlamini-Zuma to extend the curfew in the Western Cape, on Friday, January 15.
“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 South Africa (Fedhasa), who, after just managing to survive the first round of lockdowns, are now facing closure due to having to close their doors at 8pm,” he said, as reported by IOL.
Vos said the loss of trading hours has pushed many businesses to the brink of collapse and many are unable to retain customers, pay their bills or keep staff employed.
Cape Town’s local economy relies heavily on the food and beverage industry, as well as the manufacturing, hospitality and retail sectors to bring in money and provide jobs to locals, according to Vos.
“We know that, according to the latest information from Statistics South Africa, the tourism sector added R18.1 billion to our economy and supported just over 113 000 jobs in 2018,” he said.
“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.”
He added that he does not take making the request of extending the curfew lightly, but that it is a bid to save the hospitality sector and indicated that the extension would go hand in hand with the strict implementation of the necessary health and safety measures.
Vos believes that extending the curfew by a couple of hours, to 11pm, will give the impacted sectors a lifeline that they “desperately need to stay viable and save jobs.”