Snaking queues in Crown Mines ahead of coronavirus lockdown

Holding on to their trolleys, most shoppers look anxious and pensive as they await their turn to stock up on supplies.

FILE: South Africans have been ordered to stay at home from midnight on Thursday but there will be access to basic goods throughout the lockdown. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG – Despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plea to South Africans not to stockpile on supplies ahead of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, not everyone has headed the call.

He gave the assurance at the Union Buildings on Monday night while giving details around the lockdown, which comes into effect from the stroke of midnight on Thursday.

In Crown Mines in Johannesburg, long queues have already started to form outside major retailers on Tuesday.

Holding on to their trolleys, most shoppers look anxious and pensive as they await their turn to stock up on supplies.

The numbers are growing by the second. Those who arrived much earlier already filled up with non-perishables such as canned foods.

But some shoppers are worried most items will run out.

“They are going to finish like last week,” one shopper said.

“We are scared and must make sure we have enough food,” another added.

The lockdown kicks in on Thursday at midnight, but government has stressed that grocery stores will remain open during the three week shutdown.

Store owners and managers have been urged to make sure goods, especially those in demand are rationed so there’s enough to go around.


Stricter measures have already been implemented at Woolworths stores to promote social distancing.

To curb the spread of coronavirus only 150 people are allowed to enter the Adderley Street branch in Cape Town.

The tally differs at the other branches depending on the size of the store.

A woman admits she’s already panic buying.

“I’m panic buying, I’m sure there will be food but I’m making sure.”

Meanwhile, Nawaal Moses, who was at a Shoprite, says even if she wanted to, she could not afford to stockpile and adds people need to be considerate.

“Most people haven’t been paid yet so leave some for those people.”


Ramaphosa said South Africa's supply chains would be protected throughout lockdown, meaning there's no need for citizens to panic buy or stockpile items.

Government is taking the drastic measure in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country where there are now 554 cases.

The president said people would be able to leave their homes to get supplies, under strict controlled circumstances.

Manufacturing, production and supply of basic goods will not be affected.

“The supply of goods remains continuous and intact and there is no need of stockpiling of any items,” he said.

Regulations have also been put in place to prevent unjust price hikes and panic buying.

WATCH: Ramaphosa: South Africa will go into 21-day lockdown

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)