Durban - The ongoing violent protests taking place across KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng since the weekend may lead to a shortage of food and other supplies, the Durban Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday, echoing President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a national address on Monday night about the violence which started off as protests against former president Jacob Zuma’s jailing last week for contempt of court, Ramaphosa said the country could face food and medicine shortages as a result of disruptions to supply chains and industries across the two provinces.
Reiterating this, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC said the threat to food security should not be taken lightly.
“This disruptive activity is damaging to the economic infrastructure, the threat on food security should be taken very seriously. Producers of essential foods have now decided to temporarily shut down,” its deputy president Gladwin Malishe told the African News Agency (ANA).
“Their on-site factories have had to stop production, due to the non-movement of stock from Friday.”
Malishe said other industries like the logistics sector had also been affected by the protests and this would have a detrimental impact on the local and broader KZN provincial economy.
“The logistics sector as it stands has been hit severely hard. The number of trucks that have been burnt over the past three-days, have caused other business owners in the industry to ground their trucks, for the safety of their employees and the protection of their businesses,” he said.
The chamber was working with stakeholders to tally the full cost on businesses in the province, but a comprehensive report could only be determined once the dust settled, Malishe added.
The violence has seen major shopping centres complexes around KZN looted and gutted by fire. Residents in Durban woke up to a shortage of bread on Tuesday morning, following a long night of looting.
“I went to several shops and it's impossible to get a loaf of bread. The few shops that are opened have extremely long lines and people are panic buying - it's like we are in a war situation,” a Durban resident told Independent Media.
Police in the province tried to shut down a local supermarket because citizens were allegedly flouting Covid-19 regulations, according to a video posted on the Hillcrest community group.
African News Agency (ANA)