Premier warns against panic buying as goods fly off shelves

STOCKING UP: Some shelves have been emptied at The Acres SPAR in Perridgevale and at many other Port Elizabeth supemarkets in Port Elizabeth as a result of stockpiling ahead of Friday's national coronavirus lockdown
STOCKING UP: Some shelves have been emptied at The Acres SPAR in Perridgevale and at many other Port Elizabeth supemarkets in Port Elizabeth as a result of stockpiling ahead of Friday's national coronavirus lockdown
Image: WERNER HILLS

Following the announcement of the nationwide 21-day lockdown by the president on Monday night, many Bay residents started Tuesday by queuing up and cleaning out stores — a stockpiling strategy the Eastern Cape premier has cautioned against.

The premier’s spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, said on Tuesday that the premier, Oscar Mabuyane, discouraged panic buying.

This echoes Cyril Ramaphosa’s call against panic buying when he addressed South Africans about the lockdown that will start at midnight on Thursday.

The first spate of panic buying already started last week after the president declared SA as being in a state of national disaster.

The first items to fly off the shelves were toilet paper, hand sanitisers and detergents. Vitamin C is also in great demand at many pharmacies.

Some shelves in many retail stores last week were left empty because of the over-stocking, and again shelves in certain shops were depleted on Tuesday.

Sicwetsha said: “The president confirmed that grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations and banks will remain open throughout the lockdown period.

“He calls on the people of the province not to stockpile food as the supply of goods remains continuous and supply chains remain intact.”

STOCKPILING INCREASES: Shoppers queue out Makro in Kabega Park on Tuesday ahead of the nationwide lockdown starting early on Friday
STOCKPILING INCREASES: Shoppers queue out Makro in Kabega Park on Tuesday ahead of the nationwide lockdown starting early on Friday
Image: WERNER HILLS

In a bid to counter the large influx of customers, Makro in Kabega Park placed restrictions on the number of people  allowed to enter the store on Tuesday.

Those who were permitted, about 4,800, had their hands sprayed with sanitisers before entering. .

Horse breeders Arthur du Randt and Marie Botha, who own a farm called Bern Marne Stud at Blue Horizon Bay, said they were waiting in line to do grocery shopping for their workers.

Another Makro shopper, Vee Gxamza, 64, of Motherwell, said he couldn’t be afraid of something he couldn’t see, but decided to do his shopping on Tuesday in an effort to prepare for the lockdown.

TROLLEY DASH: Shoppers at Makro load their trolleys ahead of lockdown
TROLLEY DASH: Shoppers at Makro load their trolleys ahead of lockdown
Image: WERNER HILLS

“Government should have planned for this a bit better.

“Pensioners should’ve been given their money even earlier and given their own specific date to get their groceries,” Gxamza said.

Kholeka Nxiweni from Kamma Heights said she had done her essential grocery shopping last week but was at Clicks in Lorraine to add to her stock of detergents ahead of the lockdown.

FISH WISH: A long line of people queue up in front of Fisherman Fresh at the Port Elizabeth harbour on Tuesday to buy fish for the Easter holidays
FISH WISH: A long line of people queue up in front of Fisherman Fresh at the Port Elizabeth harbour on Tuesday to buy fish for the Easter holidays
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Kinicare pharmacy in Lorraine also experienced long ques and were forced to place a restriction on the number of people entering the store.

Among those in the line at Klinicare was Lovemore Heights resident Riana Laubscher, 65, who said she needed to collect her chronic medication before the lockdown started.

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