The continued ban on unfettered e-commerce, and a possible extension of this ban beyond next Friday, is “incomprehensible” and flies in the face of government’s commitment to the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution.
That’s according to Kim Reid, CEO of South Africa’s largest online retailer, Takealot.com, who said in a phone interview with TechCentral on Friday that e-commerce has been recognised in other countries as a critical component of helping fight the Covid-19 pandemic as it keeps people from social contact, which can spread the disease.
“It is incomprehensible that this country cannot see the economic value that online can deliver to South Africa in a time of need, the social value that it can deliver at this time. Everywhere in the world it’s open and doing exactly what it should be doing, which is facilitating social distancing,” Reid said.
“There should be no limitation on online delivery to the home – no limitation! And I’m not talking about food – food is more controversial – but when we get down the delivery of essential and non-essential goods to people’s homes … it’s daft (to ban it).”
He said the government has been “short-sighted” on not allowing unfettered online shopping, particularly given the platitudes it so often pays to the fourth Industrial Revolution and the importance of technology innovation in growing the economy.
“You talk about the fourth Industrial Revolution, and all of these types of things, well now is the opportunity to activate these and support this. They’re behind the rest of the world here. Even if they turned around and said to us that online is inconsequential at this time – which is nonsense – then let it happen, because it has no risk.”
‘Sick and tired’
He added that government “needs to realise people are getting sick and tired of not having access to these goods”.
“They’re getting even more frustrated because there’s no reason they shouldn’t have access to these goods. That needs to be recognised as well.” — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media