Stores are open, and food delivery available, in most of SA – but parts of KZN and GP hard hit

Business Insider SA
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 12: Police car with lo
Police disperse looters in Durban's CBD. Photo: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
  • Some food delivery services have shut down across South Africa, and some chains have closed stores in the Western Cape and Free State.
  • But retail food disruptions are largely contained within KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng – where they are severe for some communities.
  • Distribution centres and large warehouses across most of the country are intact, but the ability to move on highways, and the availability of diesel, is worrying some logistics operators.
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Across large sections of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, retail stores of all sizes were closed on Tuesday, while food delivery services were either not available at all, or patchy.

Some communities reported long lines at the few spots where basic food was on sale, and there were limited reports of price gouging, with R50 charged for a loaf of bread.

But, with a few exceptions, the rest of the country remained unaffected by the looting in those two provinces, with food logistics operations standing ready to resupply shelves even there – as soon as they can safely move about, and assuming fuel supplies remain stable.

Various operators said their large distribution centres, often located on the outskirts of population centres far away from stores being targeted, were secure and operational. Should they be able to safely put trucks on highways, managers said, they could restock shelves fast. But how long they could keep supplies going would depend on the availability of diesel, and there was some concern about disruption of inland fuel deliveries.

Here's what we know about individual retailers across provinces so far.

Makro, which saw some of its stores specifically targeted, said it was closing all of its stores, nationally, for at least the duration of Tuesday. Its sibling chain Game warned that "delivery to some areas may be delayed".

The Shoprite group, including Checkers and USave, said "several" of its stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were unable to trade.   

Woolworths said its delivery services had been halted entirely in KwaZulu-Natal, but that online service was available in Gauteng, albeit with "varying degrees of service disruptions and delays due to staff shortages, transport issues as well as supply chain disruptions which will impact stock availability". In the Western Cape it was seeing disruptions due to a taxi strike, it said.

Pick n Pay said online shopping was available where its stores had not been disrupted; a number of outlets had been closed. "There has also been some disruption to deliveries in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng," it said, but in areas without public violence, trading was continuing.

Uber said it had advised drivers and couriers "to be vigilant and use the in-app emergency button which is linked to private security. If drivers and couriers are not comfortable driving or delivering in certain areas, they're completely free to go offline and come back online when they choose".

The Quench third-party delivery app, which offers Woolworths shopping, on Tuesday said it had halted service in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The Zulzi third-party app, which offers deliveries from Pick n Pay, Woolworths, and others, on Monday said it would halt operations until it was safe to resume.

Clicks said it had closed all stores in KwaZulu-Natal again, and another 130 stores in Gauteng. It's regularly-updated list of affected stores also showed some impact in the Free State and Western Cape.

This article is updated as new information becomes available, but the security situation is developing rapidly for many retailers.

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