Kaya News reporter
Pieter Boone, CEO of Pick n Pay has called for an urgent lifting of the alcohol ban after the looting aftermath in the country last week.
The riots and looting saw 136 of the supermarket chain’s stores damaged and looted and a further 76 liquor stores cleaned out in both Gauteng and KZN. The retail giant also owns Boxer stores and while there are plans to reopen 58 of their stores by next week, Boone described the scale of the destruction as heartbreaking.
There will be severe shortfalls for retail stores in the food and alcohol trade unless the ban is lifted, said Boone.
“In normal times, many independent shopkeepers depend on responsible liquor sales to sustain their businesses and will not survive another prolonged ban. The social unrest, looting and damage has dealt them a further blow – as well as releasing a large amount of looted liquor into the illicit market,” he explained to Engineering News.
He said his teams on the ground have done incredible work in clean up operations and accelerate trading, adding the brand remains hopeful they will have all stores fully operational soon.
“Speaking to franchisees and independent traders in the affected areas, I firmly believe that it is time now for President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a lifting of the ban on liquor sales. We have hopefully passed the peak of the COVID-19 third wave,” Boone said.
Fellow retail chain Shoprite confirmed that 200 of their stores were also affected by the widespread looting aftermath. The incident has highlighted the importance of food security in the country.
Also read: Looted goods will be destroyed