Covid-19

'Why does everyone think we are over-reacting?' - South Africans store up on 'essentials'

22 March 2020 - 00:00 By ALEX PATRICK
Daniel van Wyngaardt has filled the shelves in his garage with what he hopes are enough supplies to last him and his 11 staff three months. The hoard includes petrol and diesel.
Daniel van Wyngaardt has filled the shelves in his garage with what he hopes are enough supplies to last him and his 11 staff three months. The hoard includes petrol and diesel.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Daniel van Wyngaardt, 38, bought enough food on Monday to last three months. But he insists he is not going overboard.

“I did it because I know how people will react and if we go into a lockdown situation like the Italians, then at least I can survive for three months,” said the Ballito resident, who runs a second-hand business.

“On Sunday I was at a party and I told everyone there: ‘Watch, people are going to go crazy with their panic buying.’”

He said his prediction was borne out the next day when he saw the queues at his supermarket. So he went to Game and bought food that would last, including maize meal, pasta, rice, tinned foods and soap — “because all the hand sanitisers had been sold”.

Van Wyngaardt, whose children live with his ex-wife in the US, also bought food for the 11 people he employs.

“I think people forget staff, and I want to remind people to please keep in mind their domestic helpers,” he said.

“People need to be able to hunker down for three months at a minimum. Don’t say it is uncalled for to stock up on food and other supplies. We are in for a rough three months… just look at First World countries —why does everyone think we are over-reacting?”

Van Wyngaardt believes the government is downplaying the seriousness of the virus.

“I don’t know if the government is keeping quiet … to try quell the panic. One of the estates near me is self-quarantining because someone there has [Covid-19].

"Imagine what would happen if it gets into a community where people live close together — our resources won’t cope. Spain has a great medical system and look at them.”

He said he did not want to join the throngs of panic buyers, but he also did not want to be the one left behind when there was no food on the shelves.

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