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Many people do not know that there is a category of spaza shops that need a trading licence to operate.
According to the Business Act 71 of 1991, you must get a trading licence for your spaza shop if you do the following:
l Making or selling any food which may be eaten at your spaza shop or taken away;
l If you sell food that can go off (perishables) such as milk, cheese and bread;
l If your spaza shop has an entertainment area which has video games, slot machines, snooker games, and so forth.
In order to sell liquor in your spaza shop, you also need to apply for a liquor licence from your local council. But you don't need a trading licence if your spaza shop sells only non-perishable goods like washing powder, tea, cold drinks, rice, cigarettes, and so on.
How do you get a trading licence?
A trading licence is obtainable from any local council. There is an application form to be filled in and the form must be accompanied by the copy of your identity document.
But you must expect to pay a certain fee during the process.
After the completion of the application you must expect contact from inspectors wanting to come and inspect your spaza shop.
Among the inspectors that will visit your spaza are:
l A town planner - to assess if your spaza shop is in an area that is suitable for business;
l A health inspector - to see if your business meets all health standards and rules; and
l A fire department inspector - to see if the business is not a fire hazard.
Normally, the inspectors must visit the business site within 35 days after the submission of the application form.
If the licensing department is satisfied with the reports from all the inspectors, the local council will then grant you the trading licence.
After the trading licence has been granted, an authorised officer from any of the above-mentioned departments will come from time to time to inspect the premises to check if the business is still compliant with the rules.
Not everyone can be granted a trading licence. There are instances where a trading licence won't be granted, for example, when the spaza shop is reckoned to be unsafe or unhygienic, the owner has a criminal record or reputation for cheating people in the community.