Some mothers of newborn babies in Limpopo say they are struggling to buy clothes for their babies because of the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Clothing shops have been closed since the start of the lockdown over a week ago.

Only shops that sell essential items, such as food and medicine, are allowed to open during this time.

Tshililo Mulaudzi of Tshiozwi village, outside Louis Trichardt, is one of the mothers who are experiencing shortages of necessities for their babies due to the lockdown. She says government must review the lockdown regulation to include shops that sell items for babies.

“The situation is bad. Just imagine a week-old baby; where are you going to find clothes? My baby was born on the 24th of March. It is very difficult because I did not buy enough clothes before lockdown. Now shops have been closed and there is nothing I can do. It is very painful.”

The Tebeila Institute of Leadership, the African Institute for Human Rights and Constitutional Litigation filed an urgent application at the Constitutional Court on Monday. They are challenging the closure of shops that sell goods for babies.

Lawyer Shadrack Tebeila says they want their matter to be heard on Wednesday.

“The President must, during the lockdown, allow pregnant women who may deliver during the lockdown to go and buy baby clothes and also for those mothers, in particular newborns babies. So our application will be heard in the Constitutional court; basically the expected date is on Wednesday.”

Meanwhile, the Limpopo Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s president Albert Jeleni says they will ask government to consider clothing and appliance stores because learners also need cellphones and laptops for their online catch-up programme.

“There are some challenges; that we realise as we go along. Access to necessities, including the clothing, it really has become a challenge. I would like to believe that is something that the government is going to consider. We look on that matter on our side and as it is today, we actually want to write to government and we are not only looking at the clothing. It is two things that we have considered; one is for the clothing for the babies two is what we called gauged.”

In the urgent application before court, the Institute of Leadership stated that the President’s directive for lockdown should be declared inconsistent with Section 28(2) of the Constitution as it fails to protect the interests of newborn babies.