Wapadrand Spar owner Henri van der Watt showing the empty bread shelves. Picture: Zelda Venter
Wapadrand Spar owner Henri van der Watt showing the empty bread shelves. Picture: Zelda Venter

Coronavirus: Pretoria east shoppers scramble for what's left on shelves

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Mar 26, 2020

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Pretoria - Shoppers in Pretoria East were out in their droves, hours ahead of the national shutdown, scrambling for what is still left on the shelves in the supermarkets. 

But  people especially flocked to the liquor stores following the announcement by police minister Bheki Cele that buying alcohol during the next three weeks is off the cards. 

The staff at Tops in Wapadrand were running around to restock empty shelves, which within minutes again ran empty. 

Frantic shoppers pushed each other out of the way with filled to the brim trolleys. 

They  especially stocked-up with a variety of beers and wines. 

A trolly full of alcohol at the Wapadrand Tops. Picture: Zelda Venter


Queues ran around the shop with people seemingly not minding paying-up for their favourite drinks. 

One man, who did not want to be identified, paid his more than R4 000 bill with a smile. 

“You never know whether this lock-up will last for more than three weeks, so its better to be safe than sorry,” he said. 

Wapadrand resident Yvette Taljaardt, said while she is not stockpiling on alcohol, she wanted to ensure that she had some of her favourite drinks at hand during the next three weeks. 

“I saw on the news that we cannot buy alcohol. That is fine and I will survive without it. We will also all be fine during this time, although it won’t be easy. 

But this will all be over before we know it.” 

Taljaart said she is not bulk buying, as the shops will be open and stocked. I am mostly at this stage stocking on the basics, such as bread and milk.” 

Owner of the Wapadrand Spar, Henry van der Watt, confirmed that bread was flying off the shelves. 

But as his shop was baking its own bread, he promised that there will always be stock. 

“We will assess the situation and bake accordingly, he said” 

The shop will remain open from early in the morning to late afternoon, so there is no need for frantic buying.” 

As a community supermarket, Taljaart is going out of his way to assist the elderly and a service to deliver food for them during the lockdown, free of charge,  is in the pipeline. 

Sonja Vermeulen, one of the shoppers with a filled trolley, said as it is uncertain times, she would rather stock-up now. 

“It also makes me feel a bit in control during this time which is totally out of our control,” she said. 

Meanwhile shops at the Equestria Centre also had their hands full to keep the shelves stocked. 

It was especially shops such as the pharmacy and the Woolworths which had to cope with scores of shoppers. 

Car guards were meanwhile cashing-in while they were able to, in the busy parking lot. 

Martin Skosana said he has no idea what the next few weeks holds for him and his family, as he has no prospects of an income. 

Pretoria News

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