Patel under fire from DA for 'Alice in Wonderland' clothing gazette

New regulations have been gazetted allowing clothing to be purchased under the national lockdown. File photo.
New regulations have been gazetted allowing clothing to be purchased under the national lockdown. File photo.
Image: Dan Meyer

The government has officially gazetted regulations permitting the sale of certain items of clothing under lockdown level 4.

The detailed regulations gazetted by trade, industry and competition minister Ebrahim Patel lists all the types of clothing that will be allowed to be sold by clothing shops including underwear, socks, pyjamas, boots, slippers, closed-toe heels and flats, gym wear, jackets and other essential clothing.

The gazette goes further to give more detail on the types of tops and shirts that will be allowed including "short sleeved knit tops where promoted and displayed as worn under cardigans and knitwear”.

In the accessory category, shawls and scarves, beanies, gloves, socks, belts and headwear as some of the clothing items shops are permitted to sell. According to the gazette, electric blankets, duvets, blankets and comforters are also permitted.

“Restarting more parts of our economy is important and we are working hard to ensure that industry follow best practice to protect health and safety of all our citizens,” Patel said.

“I call on consumers to look for South African made products, made proudly by local workers so that we can build the economy.” 

However, the DA said it was stunned by the level of detail in Patel’s list of permitted clothing items which it said seem to have been “plucked from Alice in Wonderland”.

DA member of Parliament Dean Macpherson said the new regulations were “frankly mad” and does not have a place in the new democratic SA.

“There is simply no justification for the minister to be determining what clothes people can buy and worse, how they should wear them,” Macpherson said.

He questioned the detail on the shirts that can only be worn underjackets, crop bottoms that can only be worn with boots and consumers directed to only buy closed-toe shoes.

“The DA believes that people should be able to buy whatever they want, as long as it is done in a safe way with health protocols. There is no rationale for a clothing list. “It is now beyond doubt that Minister Patel is running amok without any restraint from President [Cyril] Ramaphosa. He has been allowed to pick winners and losers in the economy, to determine what is “fair” and now has gone to the extreme to determine what clothes people can buy and how they should wear them.”  

Macpherson called on Ramaphosa to sack Patel whom he said had been a “deadweight” in the government.

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