Capetonians went bos on Tuesday as they stormed the shops following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a national 21-day lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Yesterday Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the number of infections in South Africa had increased to 554.
In Ramaphosa’s address on Monday night, he said that supermarkets and pharmacies would remain open and South Africans would be permitted to buy food and medicine during the stay-at-home period, which starts at midnight on Thursday and ends on 16 April.
But this didn't stop mense from rushing out to stock up.
Less than an hour after Monday evening's announcement, a video of shoppers in Table View rushing into a Pick 'n Pay store went viral on social media.
Daily Voice visited the Makro store in Ottery yesterday morning where long queues could be seen as shoppers stood ready with their trolleys.
To control customer numbers, staff only allowed six trolleys in at a time and sprayed shoppers’ hands with sanitiser.
Fahiema Sabera, 49, from Eagle Park came out of Makro with eggs, long-life milk and other non-perishables.
“I am not really worried as I am sure the shops will have enough, but I came to stock up because we are also preparing for Ramadaan. I am worried about my daughter who is going to give birth on 13 April,” she said.
A 35-year-old shopper, who asked not to be named, described N1 City mall as “f***ing chaos”.
“I just wanted to buy food for my parrot but, N1 City was filled to the brim. There was no parking and people were all over buying long-life milk and other goods and the panic buying was definitely in full swing.”
At Elite Power Trade Cash and Carry, long lines could be seen outside the store as management made a call to close the gates and only let in 30 customers at a time.
Owner Mohammed Banderker says when they opened the store at 7.30am, people were already queuing.
“We normally open at 7.30am, but by that time there were quite a few people already. When we opened for trading, all the people just came in,” he says.
“But once it was settled, we started to only allow 30 people in at a time to control the numbers and measures need to be put in place.
“Since last week there has been this panic buying taking place.”
He says while his store is fully stocked now, he is unsure if this will remain the case as some suppliers are already two weeks late.
“We might run short on some major items. Business has increased between 20% and 30% on an average weekday.”
“People are buying the basics. Toilet rolls, flour, sugar, cooking oil and especially rice.
“As rice is an imported item, this may cause problems.
He adds that the store will be open during the shutdown, but cannot guarantee that all the stock will be available.
Shoppers also flocked to Promenade Mall in Mitchells Plain and Giant Hyper Market in Cape Gate.
Ramaphosa warned against panic buying and profiteering.
“Regulations have been put in place to prohibit unjustified price hikes, to ensure shops maintain adequate stocks of basic goods and to prevent people from ‘panic-buying’,” he said.
“Government has had discussions with manufacturers and distributors of basic necessities, who have indicated that there will be a continuous supply of these goods. There is, therefore, no need for stockpiling of any items.”