Woolworths and Pick n Pay are experiencing delivery delays and supply chain shortages due to rampant riots and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
In a violent uprising that began as a protest against the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, thousands of South Africans seized the opportunity that the unrest afforded, plundering and destroying businesses and ransacking warehouses, stores and trucks.
The damage has amounted to R5 billion so far in the retail sector alone, according to Business Leadership South Africa. CEO Busi Mavuso said 200 malls were targeted, over 800 stores were looted, and 100 were completely burnt.
A Woolworths spokesperson told MyBroadband that in KwaZulu-Natal, all of the company’s online operations are being affected by the unrest: scheduled delivery, click and collect, and Woollies Dash.
All online services are currently available in Gauteng. Still, the company is experiencing varying degrees of service disruptions, depending on staff shortages, transport issues, and supply chain disruptions caused by the riots.
Operations in the Western Cape continue as normal, though the spokesperson did mention some delays due to the taxi strike in the province.
Pick n Pay chief strategy officer David North stated that Pick n Pay has closed many of its stores in Gauteng and Natal.
North said that online deliveries through its Pick n Pay Bottles service have been disrupted in both provinces and mentioned that its supply chain has also been affected.
“We are working hard with our teams to ensure we can restock as soon as the situation allows,” said North
“Our stores continue to be open and trading in areas not affected by the disruption.”
Supply chain shortages have been caused by major disruptions to one of the country’s main logistics routes between Durban and Gauteng.
The Road Freight Association estimated damages of R300 million to logistics firms so far, with over 35 trucks destroyed.
The Shoprite-Checkers group stated that its stores have also been heavily affected and that it is “working around the clock to re-stock and rebuild affected stores in KZN and Gauteng”.
According to a spokesperson, the company’s stores in other parts of South Africa remain fully operational.