FOOD shortages in Isipingo, a small town in the south of Durban, has seen shoppers endure meandering queues, spanning at least a kilometre, to get to one of the only open retail stores in the town for food supplies.
The town is often flooded by people from nearby townships such as Umlazi, Folweni, KwaMakhutha, Illovo, KwaFelekisi, Malukazi, Umgababa, Umnini, Mfume and Ilfracombe, who do their shopping in the numerous stores in the town.
On Saturday, as many shops remained closed following this week’s civil unrest which left many shops looted and gutted, shoppers were forced to persevere in the heat as they stood in long queues to gain access to the only open retail store in the town.
Sabelo Nsele, from Malukazi, about 5km from Isipingo, said that he was shocked to see the long queue upon his arrival at 07.20am, adding that he thought some people might have slept overnight in the town to be ahead in the queue.
Nsele, who lives with his wife and two children, said that he wanted to get basic supplies for his household because when the looting and vandalism began he had not been able to do grocery shopping to last his family.
“Right now although we still do have a little left in food supplies, I felt the need to come out and buy more because we don’t know when shops will be fully operational again so it is better to replenish enough to last us until month end,” Nsele said.
He said the aftermath of the looting, vandalism and destruction of shops and other critical infrastructure, which now sees communities suffering due to a lack of access to basics such as food, petrol and medical supplies, should be a big lesson for the future.
“We shouldn’t destroy and vandalise what we have just because we are unhappy due to a certain situation. It is important that as communities we air our grievances through the appropriate channels and do so in the right manner.
“If we do what has happened this week it ends up hurting us as communities as we are now forced to stand in these long queues looking for food. I’m sure most places will suffer from food shortages and even here, I don’t even know whether I’ll find any food when I eventually get to the shop because there is a lot of us and there is a high demand for food.”
Sibonelo Mofokeng, from Illovo township, said that he was in the queue so that he could gain access to an ATM inside the Pick n Win Supermarket so that his family could be able to pay their domestic worker.
“I hope to be able to get there eventually because our helper also has to go to her family because she also has children of her own to take care of, and she needs to also get food supplies for them,” Mofokeng said.