Despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plea to South Africans not to stockpile supplies ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown, not everyone heeded the call.
The lockdown comes into effect from the stroke of midnight on Thursday. The Witness canvassed shopping centres and supermarkets in the city on Tuesday where some shoppers were seen holding on to their trolleys and shopping lists, most looking anxious as they waited their turn to stock up on supplies.
Those who arrived early filled up their shopping bags with non-perishables such as canned foods.
Checkers at Cascades Shopping Centre limited tinned food items to three per customer.
Pick n Pay also announced on its Facebook page that it had limited all its alcohol sales: “Beer or cider, three cases each, spirits, three bottles, wine, 12 bottles, and box wine, three boxes each.”
The chain said its stores will remain open and there was no need to stockpile. “We have robust plans in place to ensure steady supplies of food and other household items for you. If you do come to our stores, please respect the rules of social distancing and keep 1,5 m between you and others.”
But some shoppers are worried most items will run out.
“They are going to finish like last week,” one shopper said.
“We are scared and must make sure we have enough food,” another added.
Store owners and managers have been urged to make sure goods, especially those in demand, are limited so there’s enough to go around.
Jash Pandoo, a shopper who spoke to The Witness while queuing at Checkers with two packed trolleys, said he had stocked up on toilet paper and snacks. “I’m going to use the lockdown period to work on my university work. It’s going to be family time as well so there’ll be lots of video and board games.
“I’m sad that I won’t be able to see my friends during this period.”
Amanda Cebekhulu, who was also at Checkers, said even if she wanted to, she could not afford to stockpile and added that people need to be considerate. “Most people haven’t been paid yet, so leave some for those people.”
The owner of Derby Meats butchery in Northdale said they had sold out of mutton and lamb.
TWK Agri in Howick also reported an increase in customer traffic.
Liberty Midlands Mall said it will be announcing its operational plans soon “and shoppers can visit the mall’s Facebook page for more information”.