Snaking queues at KZN shops as worried residents stock up on food

Shoppers form a very long queue Jabula Supermarket in Mayville. Picture: Nqombile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA)

Shoppers form a very long queue Jabula Supermarket in Mayville. Picture: Nqombile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 15, 2021


Durban - With fears of food shortages taking root after rioters looted supermarkets, leaving many depleted, long queues formed on Thursday morning as shops in KwaZulu-Natal that had closed for safety reopened to serve residents anxious to stock up on supplies.

Massive looting has rocked parts of the KZN and Gauteng provinces for nearly a week, which some shopping complexes being burnt to the ground, after what started out as a protest against the jailing last week of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court degenerated into anarchy that has wreaked havoc in the retail, fuel and transport sectors, among others.

Following the deployment of the South African National Defence Force to support police in trying to bring the situation under control, retail giant Shoprite said its supermarkets would resume operations once conditions were safe for both employees and customers.

The group said in a statement on Wednesday it was working tirelessly to restock and rebuild stores affected by the violence in both Gauteng and KZN.

“While we have been affected by the violence, looting, arson and vandalism, we are doing everything in our power to restock shelves as quickly as possible,” Shoprite said.

“The mayhem and destruction are everyone’s loss, particularly in a country ravaged by a poor economy and joblessness, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The riots are only making our challenges, including food security, greater.”

The company thanked residents in local communities who had offered to help clean up.

On Thursday, basic food items like bread, milk and baby formula were in high demand from residents across KZN.

In a national address on Monday night in which he announced the deployment of the army, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned the country could face food and medicine shortages as a result of disruptions to supply chains and industries across KZN and Gauteng.

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) earlier this week.

“Their on-site factories have had to stop production, due to the non-movement of stock from Friday.”

African News Agency (ANA)