By NJABULO BUTHELEZI in Durban

Looters torched shops and factories during violent protests in South Africa two weeks ago.

NORMALCY has returned to looting-ravaged Durban with the resumption of services by food processors,
reopening of national roads and the revival of activities in the strategic port city, allaying fears of food shortages after unrest in South Africa.

Normalcy has been retained gradually with food processors and the N2 and N3 highways now operational, although security issues remain.

New regulations by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition have published also permit firms to share information and coordinate better to respond to food needs in KwaZulu-Natal, the epicentre of the
anarchy.

In addition, the parastatal, Transnet, and various stakeholders have resumed some activities in the port of Durban.

“These interventions signal progress from a bleak picture a few days ago,” economists Wandile Sihlobo and Sifiso Ntombela jointly stated.

They are chief economists of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) and the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) respectively.

The economists maintained in any case, a good agricultural season allayed fears the recent unrest would trigger food shortages but only the distribution of this basic commodity was an issue.

South Africa is revelling on the second-largest maize harvest on record, with over 16 million tonnes harvested.

The re-opening of the N2 and N3 main transit points means the raw material needed in KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country can now be transported.

They had been temporarily closed due to the strife.

“The recent interventions show that when industry and government work together they can achieve tangible results,” Sihlobo and Ntombela stated.

They noted while these developments were encouraging, the security risk remains unabated.

“This is an area that government, business and social partners should continuously engage in to bring normalcy to KwaZulu-Natal.”

The economists discouraged consumers to avoid panic buying.

“This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and deepens anxiety,” Sihlobo and Ntombela warned.

Macroeconomist, Siobhan Redford, welcomed that KwaZulu-Natal was also heading towards resuming normal schedules for municipal services and,
importantly, the resumption of the vaccination roll-out.

“There is no doubt a long road ahead for those who need to rebuild their businesses, homes and schools, but hopefully, the spirit of uBuntu which has engulfed SA can build enough momentum to see the restoration to its end,” she said.

The spirit of Ubuntu (humanity) has been on display as some South Africans rolled up their sleeves and volunteer in clean-up operations.

Ubuntu had evaded them last week, resulting in looting and vandalism sprees that left more than 200 people dead with property worth billions of dollars destroyed.– CAJ News