Rebel Tech, one of South Africa’s specialist computer hardware retailers, has announced that it is closing down.
The company’s founder, Rune Ravnsborg, made the announcement to employees, suppliers, and customers on Facebook.
“Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation and its subsequent challenges, the cards that were dealt were too much for Rebel Tech to overcome,” he said.
“The decision to close has not been taken lightly and has been the most difficult decision I have had to make.”
Ravnsborg thanked Rebel Tech’s customers for supporting it over the past 13 years, as well as its vendors and suppliers for making it possible for them to serve their clients.
He also thanked their employees.
“Thank you! To all the hard work and dedication put in by Rebel Tech’s employees. Without you all Rebel Tech would never have been as special as it is. I never thought this family would have to break up,” he said.
“With my final goodbye, I would like you all to stay true to gaming, be kind to others, and help small businesses where possible.”
MyBroadband asked Ravnsborg for further comment on Rebel Tech’s closure, to which he provided the following statement:
Further comments might be provided when the dust and heartbreak has settled.
For now I need to focus on what I can do for my customers and staff.
Calls to end restrictions on ecommerce
Rebel Tech was an online retailer that specialised in the sale of computer equipment.
Ecommerce has been restricted along with physical retail in South Africa due to the lockdown regulations that have been in place since 26 March to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The restrictions on the sale of computer equipment were lifted on 1 May, as South Africa moved from alert Level 5 to level 4.
After five weeks of lockdown, however, it was too late for Rebel Tech.
One of South Africa’s leading national courier and delivery services, Time Freight, also recently started a formal consultation process which could lead to the closure of the company.
Ecommerce and logistics companies in South Africa have been calling on the government to allow online shops to sell more items, as they believe they can make it a far safer experience for customers than visiting a physical store.
The level 4 lockdown regulations which were published on 29 April make special provision to gradually relax the restrictions on ecommerce.
“Directions may permit the incremental expansion of ecommerce, taking into account the need to limit the extent of movement on the road, contact between people, law-enforcement challenges and the impact on other businesses.”
However, prior to the regulations being published Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel suggested that government would not consider opening up the ecommerce sector completely.
“If we open up any one category – let’s say ecommerce – unavoidably there’s enormous pressure to do the same for physical stores, or spaza shops for informal traders, so that there’s a fair competition platform,” Patel stated.
“We need to make sure that we have a system in place that has wide society support.”