Media release: Gary Moore launches review of HEALTH legislation that affects small business

2 November 2022

Gail Day

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a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa.
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Gary Moore launches review of HEALTH legislation that affects small business 

On 2 November 2022, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) presented its fifth booklet in a series of eight titled Laws Affecting Small Business. Gary Moore, senior FMF consultant and a former practising attorney in Johannesburg for over 30 years, outlined the problems caused by excessive health regulations, and recommended solutions.

Health laws aim to protect the public, but often their benefits are unproven and their costs to businesses and consumers unduly high. Small businesses are hampered by inappropriate health laws governing restaurants, foodstuffs, liquor, smoking, crèches and childminding, boarding houses and small hotels, and abattoirs. These laws are barriers to entry, by preventing many people from starting business and creating employment. Some health laws exacerbate our worst health problem (malnutrition caused by protein deficiency) by raising the costs of meat and dairy products and restricting their availability to the poor. 

Laws Affecting Small Business – HEALTH recommends the following and more: 

  • The primary responsibility of environmental health officers should not be to enforce legislation, but to provide guidance, education, and training.
  • Health legislation regulating the premises and equipment of restaurants, cafes, and caterers should be repealed, or limited to what is regarded as strictly necessary for health and hygiene.
  • Foodstuffs laws criminalising the sale of unsound food should be repealed, and reliance should be placed solely on the laws requiring food manufacturers to have procedures for analysing the hazards at critical control points in the manufacturing process, and to have steps in place to avoid those hazards arising.
  • Restrictions on the times when bottle stores can sell liquor should be removed.
  • The prohibition against making and selling skokiaan and similar liquor products should be repealed.
  • The law prohibiting smoking in so-called “public” places and in workplaces should be repealed. In all privately-owned property, irrespective of whether the public has access to it, the right to smoke should be determined by voluntary agreement between proprietors, their employees, and their customers.
  • The provision of the Children’s Act which criminalises unregistered child-care facilities should be repealed.
  • Instead of relying on compulsory registration to ascertain where places of partial care in their jurisdiction are situated, the authorities should attract childminders by offering them expert assistance, guidance, education, and training.
  • Occupational and building health laws should be replaced by the single, but clear and effective, common-law requirement that working conditions should be healthy. To this end there should be a systematic critical review of all such measures.
  • The Meat Safety Act should be repealed.
  • Informal slaughter should be legalised.
Gary Moore highlighted the message of the booklet in his presentation, saying: “Many of these laws, by controlling only goods and services sold to the public and not all goods and services, are not really health laws at all. They are buyer-protection laws, and should thus be administered by the Department of Trade & Industry, not by health departments.”
This was the fifth in a series of eight mini-launches to introduce recommendations to reduce the laws negatively affecting small business across a range of issues: tax, land, licensing, justice, labour, finance, health, schooling. Small businesses are the engine of the South African economy, and therefore the legislative instruments governing them are integral to creating an environment of growth and job-creation.

Laws Affecting Small Business – HEALTH can be found

Launch dates and speakers
08.11 | 1100-1130 – Bouwe van der Eems – SCHOOLING
15.11 | 1100-1130 – Langa Bodlani – JUSTICE
22.11 | 1100-1130 – Darlene Menzies – FINANCE

  1. 04.10 – Dawie Roodt – TAX
    The TAX booklet and presentation can be accessed
  2. 11.10 – Terence Corrigan – LAND
    The LAND booklet and presentation can be accessed
  3. 18.10 – Neil Emerick – LICENSING
    The LICENSING booklet and presentation can be accessed
  4. 25.10 – Michael Bagraim – LABOUR
    The LABOUR booklet and presentation can be accessed

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