The government, under the leadership of Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has announced immediate inspections of informal businesses by various government departments to ensure compliance with the law. This includes an audit of spaza shops. These actions are part of the government’s plan to crack down on illegal spaza shops.
Outcomes of the International Migration Workshop
The government recently held an international migration workshop with mayors and traditional leaders. The workshop focused on curbing the effects of illegal immigration, including the operation of spaza shops. The outcomes of the workshop included the introduction of “omnibus” bylaws to address challenges relating to the enforcement of business bylaws by municipalities and traditional authorities.
Government’s Plan to Regulate Illegal Spaza Shops
The government plans to conduct inspections of businesses, particularly spaza shops, in a joint operation by the departments of labour, health, small business development and home affairs’ immigration inspectorate. This is to enforce compliance with bylaws. An audit of spaza shops in villages and townships will be undertaken, and mechanisms to register them by traditional leaders and municipalities will be implemented. The registration of spaza shops will require compliance with business legislation that a foreigner can only undertake business if they make an investment of more than R5m.
In recent weeks, there have been calls to shut down illegal spaza shops run by foreigners in poor communities, with at least one civil society organisation, Not in My Name, accusing them of selling counterfeit goods. The government is also concerned about the spate of food poisoning of children from eating expired and contaminated food from spaza shops and street vendors. However, the cabinet is encouraged by law enforcement efforts to enforce food safety compliance.