Cops investigating Cape Town cake shop for baking during lockdown

A cake shop is under investigation for operating during lockdown.
A cake shop is under investigation for operating during lockdown.
Image: Maksim Shebeko/

Cape Town police are investigating a cake shop after it continued operating during the lockdown — even though it appeared to have a licence to do so.

The Velvet Cake Co in Bellville confirmed that it went about its business because it was in possession of a permit from the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

“We’ve received many comments and complaints regarding the resumption of our service. It has been confirmed by both the CIPC and the department of agriculture, forestry & fisheries that we are allowed to trade, given that we supply food products. This is in line with similar suppliers in our industry who are supplying baked goods such as doughnuts, rusks, cupcakes, cakes to retailers and individuals.

“We have practised due diligence in our process of application at the CIPC, and in setting up our bakery to operate according to sound health and safety protocols in light of Covid-19,” the business said in a notice to customers.

#UPDATE: Dear customers, We’ve received many comments and complaints regarding the (small-scale) resumption of our...

Posted by The Velvet Cake Co. on Thursday, April 2, 2020

The business said it was fully compliant with the regulations.

“Please also note that our retail shops are not open, and that we will only produce small batches for home delivery. We will have a small team of 4-5 employees on our bakery premises, and they will follow all safety and hygiene precautions, as will our delivery drivers.” 

However, the police were questioned about the operation of the business on a WhatsApp group that TimesLIVE is part of.

Brig Vish Naidoo, national police spokesperson, said he was investigating.

A little while later, he said: “The said business being in possession of a CIPC certificate does not make them an essential service provider by selling cakes. The Bellville SAPS has been tasked to investigate this matter.”

Earlier this week, the CIPC released a statement saying that during the course of its review of the essential service list of applications, it had established that certain companies not designated as essential services have either fraudulently or negligently applied on the Bizportal website.

“It is a criminal offence for any business to continue operating during the lockdown if it is not providing an essential service, as defined in the applicable regulations and direction, unless such business can be operated using work-from-home arrangements.

“It is also a criminal offence for any business which misrepresents the nature of its operations in order to obtain a CIPC certificate,” said Sidwell Medupe, the trade and industry department spokesperson.

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