Residents scramble for food items and baby needs

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Jul 14, 2021

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DURBAN residents have been scrambling for basic food items such as bread and milk and those with babies need formula and nappies. The urgency was evident in neighbourhood WhatsApp groups on Tuesday morning.

This was a result of the ongoing looting and violence that has spread across KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces.

Shopping centres and supermarkets that were spared following police, private security and community interventions remained closed, while others traded as per level 5 of the national lockdown.

Some shops allowed residents to WhatsApp their grocery lists but these lists were limited to a maximum of 10 items and card payment only. After that, residents could collect their groceries at a specific time. KwikSpar in Ballito Village used this method.

Other residents stood in long snaking queues just to get the necessities.

The Shoprite Group, one of the country’s biggest supermarkets and with many outlets that were looted, said: “We denounce the criminal acts of violence, looting and damage to property. It puts the lives and safety of millions of South Africans at risk and brings further food security challenges in South Africa.”

The Shoprite Group added that currently, several stores in KZN and Gauteng were unable to trade due to the mayhem and damage caused over the past 24 hours, affecting the livelihoods of millions of law-abiding citizens.

Tiger Brands said their Albany bakery operations and the distribution of bread in KZN have been interrupted and to ensure the safety of their employees, they have temporarily closed all their bakeries in the province.

“We continue to assess the situation and will restart production and deliveries as soon as the situation is brought under control and it is safe for our employees to return to work. As one of the largest manufacturers of food in Southern Africa, we are continuously working with our supply partners and our customers to ensure ongoing production and delivery of our portfolio of brands to meet consumer needs.”

Pioneer Foods said they were focused on the safety of their employees and safeguarding their property and assets. As a result, some production and distribution facilities in affected areas were closed.

“In KZN, this includes two bakeries, a wheat mill, a maize mill, a rice packing and snacks plant. In collaboration with our suppliers and customers, we plan to restore production and distribution of our products when it is safe to do.”

On Tuesday morning, Premier Sihle Zikalala held a media briefing on the province’s response to the civil unrest.

Zikalala said on Monday that there was a special executive council meeting where the Justice, Crime, Prevention and Security Cluster presented a detailed plan that sought to address the situation.

He said they would be intensifying engagements with community structures on the ground. They have directed that all municipalities must put into effect Operation Sukuma Sakhe to identify risks and threats in their areas and report those before they happen.

They also activated co-ordination at district levels where their mayors and councillors will work with all stakeholders and assist law enforcement agencies to attend to threats and protests that are engulfing their areas. They have also activated all their operation Sukuma Sakhe structures to engage at a local level with all structures to listen to people’s concerns.

In addition they would ensure that all MECs were on the ground working with their mayors and stakeholders in all districts where they are champions to identify areas that have threats and ensure those areas are addressed.

Zikalala said the SANDF would work in support of the SAPS. Their deployment would be supported by the Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee which includes Crime Intelligence, Defence Intelligence and State Security.

“These forces will be part of our multidisciplinary Law Enforcement Strategy to quell the unrest and attempts to render the province ungovernable. This will enable our law enforcement authorities to counter these sporadic, yet well-orchestrated and violent protests.”

Zikalala said the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure and Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure have intensified deployments in all areas affected by violent protests, to arrest the damage to property and stop looting of shops.

“The SANDF together with law enforcement authorities will be manning all key economic centres, highways and strategic areas that lead to hospitals, the Port of Durban and other national key points.”

Zikalala said the latest statistics confirmed by the Security Cluster in KZN were that 26 people had been killed during stampedes as protesters ran riot in areas such as uMlazi, KwaMashu, Inanda, Phoenix, uMgungundlovu and northern KwaZulu-Natal.

As of Monday night, 187 people had been arrested by law enforcement agencies. He said they estimated that the destruction to both private and public infrastructure would amount to not less than R1 billion.

Daily News

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