Corona Virus, Lock Down and the RSA Bike Industry

In an effort to assist in the opening up of South Africa's cycling industry during the national lockdown due to the Corona Virus pandemic, Rush Sports has hired the law firm Joubert, Galpin and Searle to provide expert legal opinion on the industry's position as well as convey to Government, the importance of being able to assist South Africans working in the essential services who commute by bicycle.

Please read below for the updates (posted chronologically) provided by Rush Sports on Facebook with regards to this matter. 

Posted 24th April 2020

To our Valued Customers and Cyclists across SA
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Rush Sports has today retained the highly respected law firm of Joubert, Galpin and Searle (JGS) to give a legal opinion on where the Bicycle Industry stands on the current SA Govt. published Lock Down Regulations.
The first point is that the situation is highly fluid and can change at any time via announcements made by Cabinet Ministers or Premiers of Provinces based on the risk-adjusted profile of the the Province or City.
It is the considered opinion of JGS that bicycle manufacturers and wholesalers fall within Level 3 of the current Lock Down Regulations and therefore are not able to open on 1 May.
It is the considered opinion of JGS that bicycle retailers fall within Level 2 of the current Lock Down Regulations and therefore are not able to open on 1 May.
We will retain JGS to review and consider the fluid situation on a daily basis as information comes in from the SA Govt. and will publish their considered opinion here as well as on our website

 

Posted 24th April 2020

A message to our customers from Brandon Els, Chairman at Rush Sports.
Dear Valued Customers,
On behalf of all the staff of Rush Sports, I hope this message finds you and your family safe and sound during this unprecedented time resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thank you for your support over many years in the bicycle industry and in more recent years in the tremendous support and growth for Andre and the team at Rush Sports. It has been an incredible few years seeing the support the industry has shown these boys at Rush Sports as they have built their business from humble beginnings in and around the trails of Pietermaritzburg into a leading supplier of the SA bicycle industry, now based in Johannesburg.
Now it is a time for Rush Sports to give back. It is a time to support all Rush Sports customers and the reason for this short message. It is Rush Sports wish that not a single customer should fret and worry alone about their going concern and account payments due to Rush Sports. Andre and Chantal are available and ready to support you with plans that can suit your individual situation in order that you have peace of mind. They are only an email or phone call away to tailor make a plan for your business.
It will not be long before we can all once again meet on a trail or at an event. Until that time I wish you and your family well.
Regards,
Brandon Els
Chairman at Rush Sports

 

Posted 25th April 2020

We have just received this update from Joubert, Galpin and Searle(JGS):
On 25 April 2020 the minister of Trade and Industry published a draft document entitled “Draft Framework for Sectors” which is not yet final and sectors have been invited to provide input and submissions in respect of this document.
At present as from 1 May 2020 the entire country will be designated as a level 4 risk alert level. Walking, jogging and cycling is only permitted at level 3.
On the lasted information at hand at level 4 bicycle manufacturers can from 1 May 2020 commence with manufacturing but only with a 20% capacity of workforce. At level 3 scaled to 50% and at level 2 to 100%. This would include the assembly of existing stock in the Rush Sports warehouse. On 1 May, the Rush Sports warehouse will open within the 20% rule.
Retail sale of bicycles would at present fall under level II. This is still the position subject to direction.

 

Posted 26th April 2020

Further update:
JGS yesterday drafted a detailed submission appealing to the SA Govt. to open up completely the SA bicycle industry at level 4.
Details on cycling as stated by the WHO were supplied, but furthermore detailed data on the volume of bikes sold at various price levels in SA and the related essential services required to keep the bicycles operational. We described in our estimation the number of workers in SA who cycle commute to work each day. Our submission goes for wholesale and retail.
A point was also made that the SA bicycle industry puts food on the table on a daily basis for an estimated 100 000 people.
You can also play your part and e mail your own opinion to: lockdowncomments@cogta.gov.za
Your e mail and opinion must reach COGTA by 12h00, on Monday 27 April 2020.
The "Draft Framework for Sectors" we spoke about yesterday, which is not final in fact calls for your submissions to the above e mail.

 

Posted 27th April 2020

Further Update:
The submissions have been made and the cut-off has passed.
We now leave it in the capable hands of the COGTA Minister to do the correct thing and open the entire Bicycle Industry in South Africa at Level 4.
We have no doubt the Honorable Minister will follow the WHO guidelines and open the Bicycle Industry as done by all developed countries during lock down, worldwide. Including the hardest-hit countries such as Italy.

 

Posted 29th April 2020

Further update as of 29/04/2020:
Firstly, we would like to thank Cindy Jonker and her Partners at Joubert, Galpin and Searle who have worked for all hours of the day and night for many days now to provide the Bicycle Industry in South Africa with expert legal opinion on measures and laws adopted by the SA Govt. to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The below is to be read with previous opinions we have published and the amendments from 29 April 2020. We will not be repeating previous opinion.
The Risk-Adjusted Strategy Regulations have been promulgated on 29 April 2020 (“the Regulations”).
Level 4 remains a country wide designation but the Regulations allow for the declaration at different geographically areas ie. province, district, city, etc.
Walking, jogging and cycling is now permitted at level 4 between 06.00 – 09.00 am but only within 5km from one’s place of residence and not in organised groups.
In terms of the Regulations at level 4 Rush Sports can from 1 May 2020 commence with manufacturing but only with a 30% capacity of workforce. Previously it was 20% and we will now add staff.
The retail sale of bicycles is not permitted at level 4 in terms of the Regulations.
In terms of part L (3) of the Regulations only emergency repairs to automobiles are permitted in level 4 – hence bicycle repairs would not be permitted as it is respectfully submitted that, in our view, a bicycle is not an automobile. In terms of Part E para the retail sale of components for vehicles for emergency repairs are permitted. It is arguable that a bicycle can be classified as a “vehicle” in which event only the sale of components for emergency repairs would be allowed. If the intention of the Regulation was to limit these repairs to only “automobiles” like in part L (3) it could have simply done so but it appears to cast the reach wider to include “vehicles”. This argument is however untested and would suggest that clarity be sought from the relevant minister to avoid a possible contravention of the Regulations. We would therefore caution to rather err on the side of caution until there is clarity as we would need more time to review case law and relevant Acts as to what constitutes a “vehicle” in law.
Rush Sports will legally challenge the above point with the Minister on behalf of all Bicycle Shops in South Africa.

 

 

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Up to date as of the 29th of April 2020.