The lockdown regulations are not about punishing anyone, but to protect everyone, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Tuesday.
This as South Africans continue to scratch their heads over the ban on cooked food, alcohol and cigarettes.
On Monday, Dlamini-Zuma published the amended regulation excluding “cooked hot food” from being sold.
The ban on the selling of alcohol and tobacco products has been in effect since the start of the lockdown on 26 March.
Many South Africans have complained about these restrictions.
‘Everything had to be closed’
Addressing a virtual meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dlamini-Zuma said a lockdown meant everything had to close, except essential services.
“We said places that sell hot food, like all the fast food places, must be closed.
“If you allow cooked food to be sold, it means all these outlets [should] be allowed to sell hot food, because it is their business.”
She said this meant people would leave their homes to go and buy their favourite fast foods.
“If you allow that, you can kiss the lockdown goodbye. Hot food will bring everyone out and that is why we say it will empty the houses.”
Dlamini-Zuma added alcohol and tobacco were not essential.
“Alcohol encourages irresponsible behaviour, everyone knows that,” she said, adding it would undermine the lockdown.
She said not buying alcohol was a small sacrifice to save the nation.
“It’s got nothing to do with punishing anyone, but it’s all got to do to with protecting people. It’s a big challenge. We must all work together.”
DA MP Haniff Hoosen said the party supported the lockdown regulations, and, based on his experience, so do most South Africans.
However, he warned regulations such as the one on hot, cooked food created the impression the government was heavy-handed, saying this could cause people to stop supporting the regulations.
EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhalipi said: “As the EFF we are in this together.”
She added the party supported the lockdown regulations, but were concerned about the cooked food regulation.