A view of Joburg Market. Johannessburg, South Africa. (Image: Getty)
  • Johannesburg and Tshwane fresh produce markets are on high alert, following more widespread looting by the public.
  • Johannesburg market has seen notably fewer than usual customers on Monday and Tuesday, while Tshwane has largely been unaffected.
  • Some trucks from KwaZulu-Natal headed for the Tshwane market have not reached Gauteng, but the market relies mainly on produce from Limpopo.  
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Some of South Africa's largest fresh produce markets, the Johannesburg Market and Tshwane Market, are on high alert following looting that is rapidly spreading across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Hope Mabaso, the senior marketing manager of the Jobannesburg Market, South Africa's largest fresh produce market, said the market is on high alert to guard against any potential looting that may create destruction.

"We put our security on high alert, and we are in a constant information exchange with the Metro Police and SAPS," Mabaso told Business Insider South Africa on Tuesday.

Unrest in the country initially began as pro-Jacob Zuma campaigns, with supporters of the former president calling for his release following his arrest last week. They later morphed into the widespread looting of malls, mostly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Scores of businesses have been affected with infrastructure damaged and goods looted.

While the Johannesburg market remains open and fully operational, some customers have decided to stay home due to the riots, Mabaso said.

"The numbers [of customers] are lower because a lot of people were not able to come through."

As a precautionary safety measure, some traders decided to pack up and close earlier than the market's usual 11 am closing time, Mabaso said.  

Shelboy Sedutla, Tshwane Market's director for market development, said while there has not been any destruction at the market, they have been liaising with the Metro Police to assist should any threats emerge.                                                 

"We are in touch with the Metro Police just to assist with our current situation. We are using private security together with the city security; that is the combination," Sedutla told Business Insider.

"Where there is a problem, we engage with the Metro police for assistance. We did inform the Metro police about the situation, they are on alert, but nothing has happened," he said.

Sedutla said there had not been a decline in customers coming to purchase as many of its customers come from informal traders and other business owners from neighbouring Soshanguve and Mabopane.

Some trucks hailing from KwaZulu-Natal carrying produce were not able to reach the market, Sedutla said.

Major Highways such as the N3 have been shutdown since the riots began causing traffic and delaying the transportation of goods.

However, this has not caused significant supply issues as the market relies more heavily on Limpopo for its products.

"In terms of supply, we didn't have a problem because most of our suppliers are coming from Limpopo. Free State, we have some, and some are coming from North West," said Sedutla.

Turnover for Monday reached an expected R10 million for a Monday; usually a quiet day, and sales on Tuesday were good as well, said Sedutla.

Business Insider couldn't reach Durban Market for comment. 

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