'We’ll never allow a situation where South Africans don’t have access to food': Ntshavheni

14 July 2021 - 17:03 By TimesLIVE
A private security member helps police officers and soldiers restore law and order in Soweto on July 13, 2021.
A private security member helps police officers and soldiers restore law and order in Soweto on July 13, 2021.
Image: Alon Skuy

Government is working to try to prevent food shortages, as more than 200 shopping malls or centres have been vandalised in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in violent protests, acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Wednesday.

Of these, 156 were in KwaZulu-Natal and 52 in Gauteng. In the KZN incidents, there were 464 cases opened and 1,068 arrests made to date. In Gauteng, 219 cases were opened and 686 arrests made so far.

“With the looting of the shopping malls and centres, communities are raising concerns of food shortages and stoppage of key economic activities. There are also reports of panic buying by members of the public.

“We urge members of the public to remain calm and exercise restraint during this time. 

“Government is working with the National Consumer Goods Council to ensure food security. If we have members of the public flocking into the shops and malls to buy foodstuffs, we are also risking the spread of Covid-19 and it will reach uncontrollable levels,” said Ntshavheni.

Mobs of looters overran the Pan Africa Mall in Alexandra, Gauteng on July 12 2021. Violent riots, widespread looting and other criminal elements have flared up in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal since the weekend resulting in approximately 400 arrests and six deaths.

Later, during a question-and-answer session, she said: “We’ll never allow a situation where South Africans don’t have access to food.”

She added that there were also military personnel in place at “strategic” locations to ensure fuel security.

She added that there were 5,000 SA National Defence Force members “already deployed on the ground”.

On Wednesday, changes in regulations to the Disaster Management Act were gazetted, allowing political leaders to host “emergency” meetings to deal with the violent riots. Ntshavheni did not reference this in her speech.

This is a developing story.

TimesLIVE


subscribe