- The pressure on South Africans to keep food on the table during the extended national lockdown is becoming evident
- The Western Cape, in particular, has been hit by instances of looting and protests
- With sources of income during this time immensely limited, some have resorted to crime in a bid to survive
Western Cape police officials have confirmed that 16 suspects stormed a supermarket in Gatesville, Athlone, looting cash registers, money and groceries.
However, this is just one of three incidents in the region on Tuesday afternoon, prompting the authorities to reinforce deployments.
The suspects were seen fleeing the scene of the crime with baskets and trolleys packed with stolen groceries, a sign that the lockdown measures are pushing citizens to desperate measures.
Two Manenberg wholesalers suffered the same fate, with large crowds hurrying to empty shelves.
News24 spoke to SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa, who revealed four suspects were arrested in relation to the incident.
Tracing operations have been started by police officials in an attempt to track those responsible and retrieve the stolen groceries.
Potelwa said that three people had also been arrested after protests over food parcels broke out
"Large crowds took to the streets in protest against food parcels being distributed to some communities within the broader Mitchells Plain. Tyres were burnt, roads barricaded and police pelted with stones."
Briefly.co.za reported that a crowd of around 300 people gathered to collect food parcels in Alexandra.
Due to a misunderstanding, the residents did not receive the food parcels, despite gathering on Monday and Tuesday. Residents then gathered to discuss their frustrations on Tuesday and police officers fired rubber bullets to disperse the groups.
With the usual avenues of income closed off to the numerous citizens earning low incomes, the lockdown has left some with no option but to turn to criminal activity.
Relief efforts amid the coronavirus crisis evidently are not reaching everyone who needs help, but with a population of nearly 60 million people, it is hardly surprising that many are falling through the cracks in the system.
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