Deliveries back on track as large retail chains resume supplying food and other products

19 July 2021 - 19:41
Large retail outlets are supplying food and other products to local stores and those from neighbouring countries after violent protests gripped KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Large retail outlets are supplying food and other products to local stores and those from neighbouring countries after violent protests gripped KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Image: 123RF/Asawin Klabma

The trade and industry department says large retail outlets have reported that the supply of food and other products to SA stores and neighbouring countries is largely back on track.

This comes after the supply of food and other goods was disrupted by violent protest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last week and into the early part of the weekend.

“SA’s three largest retail groups, with stores throughout the region, noted that disruptions were mainly the result of the pressures on the N3 corridor from the Durban port and interruptions in supply from factories in KZN. Goods sourced from South African manufacturers elsewhere in the country have largely been unaffected,” the department said.

The department added that with the reopening of the N3, authorities reported that more than 100 trucks per hour were passing key checkpoints to Durban, with strong traffic from Durban to other South African destinations and neighbouring markets.

“Four cabinet ministers visited the N3 highway near Heidelberg at the weekend to meet truck drivers and logistics companies to determine the extent of goods being moved and challenges being encountered,” the department said.

According to the department, representatives of large food companies and retailers shared details of steps being taken within their supply chains to ensure that food reached retail stores.

It added that trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel had issued an exemption from certain provisions of the Competition Act. This would “enable firms to collaborate and ensure availability of basic food and consumer items, emergency products, medical and hygiene supplies (including pharmaceutical products), refined petroleum products and emergency cleanup products”.

“The damage to factories and retail facilities in KZN will have a significant affect on the economy, jobs and access to goods and services. This affect will be felt both in KZN and across the rest of the country.

“Some production facilities have been damaged though fortunately most factories and suppliers’ facilities are intact. Government is now working to minimise the disruptions to production and output,” the department said. 

It said the immediate focus was to speed up the supply of food, medicine and basic goods to KZN cities and towns.

“Key raw materials and components are being prioritised. The response of manufacturers and retailers has been very positive to efforts to rebuild the productive sectors. At the same time, the government is doing an assessment of the extent of loss of production and distribution facilities and what can be done to secure alternative local supplies of raw materials and other critical goods,” the department said.

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