The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has on behalf of its members involved in the E-Commerce business welcomed the decision by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr. Ebrahim Patel to allow the resumption of the sale of the full range of products through E-Commerce platforms.
CGCSA has been lobbying the Government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to allow E-Commerce businesses to provide a purchase and delivery service in a way that avoids human contact in line with social distancing protocols. Many countries in the world where E-Commerce such as the US, UK, broader Europe as well as most of Asia have not imposed any restrictions on the distribution of goods by E-Commerce means during their national lockdowns.
CGCSA is therefore pleased that Government has considered and accepted our recommendations that our E-Commerce members be allowed to sell their full range of products to consumers.
E-commerce delivery presents the following benefits over physical retail shops:
- Social distancing is encouraged: No matter what the nature of the physical product is, it can be fulfilled via E-Commerce in a contactless way. This fulfils the Government aim of social distancing while at the same time providing a convenient purchasing channel for consumers.
- Mental health and wellbeing are maintained as consumers will be able to fulfil their needs while locked down at home and will not suffer additional stress due to artificial shortages.
- Hygienic, contactless delivery, as warehouses are continually cleaned and sanitised. In addition, the temperature of workers is constantly tested, and nurses will be available to attend to any medical needs.
All vehicles and drivers will undergo strict hygiene protocols, including continually testing all drivers for temperature. The drivers will also sanitise their hands after every delivery, so would be their delivery vehicles.
E-Commerce has therefore proved to be a safe yet efficient effective way of retailing products as many governments elsewhere have recognised, to flatten the curve of Covid-19 during a lockdown period.
CGCSA accepts and supports the broader objectives, as reiterated by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the nation on 13 May 2020, of achieving a slower infection rate of coronavirus and to protect lives, while also adopting a risk adjusted strategy to ensure the gradual resumption of economic activity. The recommendations to allow trading on E-Commerce platforms were therefore made in this context, so that collectively as a nation we can return to normality while revitalising and growing the economy.