Consumers urged to spend wisely after scenes of coronavirus panic buying

Debt Rescue's Niel Roets said many people didn't have the budget to pay for the extra expenses and ended up swiping their credit cards.

Empty shelves at a supermarket in South Africa. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Debt Rescue SA has urged South Africans to make responsible financial decisions even with uncertainty around the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Photos and videos have gone viral of South Africans panic buying at grocery shops this week.

Thousands cleared shop shelves on Monday the day after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster.

Debt Rescue's Niel Roets said the economic impact of the pandemic would be devastating.

โ€œPeople are in survival mode so they arenโ€™t thinking about things they buy the way they normally buy. They think they must grab everything they can get whether they can afford it or not.โ€

He said many people idn't have the budget to pay for the extra expenses and ended up swiping their credit cards.

โ€œThere are also many retailers providing credit to consumers. The problem with this is a case of supply and demand and many are increasing prices.โ€

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)