At the weekend, president Cyril Ramaphosa held a press conference to update South Africans on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, declaring it a national disaster. Perhaps unsurprisingly this resulted in many South Africans going into prepper mode, and clearing the shelves of many shops.

Toilet paper and bread are two items in particular which we’ve seen people stockpile, but Ramphosa has urged local consumers not do to so.

As he explained earlier this week, the country’s supply chains remain intact, which means there is no need for South Africans to panic buy.

“We call on all citizens to refrain from making excessive purchases. It is important to understand that the supply of goods remains continuous, supply chains remain intact, and there is no need for stockpiling of any items,” he noted in a meeting with political leaders in the Western Cape yesterday.

He also got the backing from several opposition leaders, with the DA’s John Steenhuisen stating that, “The second appeal I would like to make is to our fellow citizens out there to stop the panic buying. It is not necessary. We can beat this virus and we can get through this but it is going to require all of us to be calm, but deliberative in our approach.”

The EFF’s leader, Julius Malema, took time at the meeting to address local businesses too, asking that they not take advantage of the COVID-19 situation.

“We call upon all business people dealing with gloves, sanitizers, masks not to try and maximise profits out of this crisis. We also call upon the private hospitals that the only way to avoid the nationalisation of those private hospitals is by fully cooperating with the Minister of Health when he needs beds for our sick people. It is not time to make profit,” he said.

Whether any of this advise will be heeded remains to be seen, but as more cases are confirmed in the country, fewer people will be at ease.

[Image – Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash]