Joburg residents panic buy water and storage containers before the 58 hour water outage

Joburg residents panic buy water and storage containers before the 58 hour water outage

An empty water rack at Pick n Pay Ferndale on Republic.

An empty water rack at Pick n Pay Ferndale on Republic.

  • Johannesburg residents are leaving shelves stripped of bottled water at many retail stores for hours, ahead of a planned 58-hour water cut.
  • The water outage will affect much of Johannesburg, including Roodepoort, Randburg, Langlaagte, Southdale and Soweto.
  • Retailers such as Pick n Pay, Checkers and Spar have seen increased demand for five-liter water bottles, while West Pack and Crazy Plastics are struggling to meet demand for storage containers.
  • For more stories, visit Tech and Trends Homepage.

Panic-stricken Johannesburg residents stripped retail shelves after Rand Water announced that large parts of Johannesburg would see water outages for 58 hours due to upgrades to the Eikenhof pumping station.

In scenes similar to those of the Covid-19 lockdown, customers panic-buy huge quantities of bottled water and storage containers.

This has left food retailers like Pick n Pay, Checkers and Spar under pressure to replenish stock quickly, as trailing customers demand more of the supply.

West Pack, Crazy Plastics and Oasis also saw increased foot traffic as customers purchased bulk storage containers in numbers.

Choose Push n Checkers

Checkers and Pick n Pay at Ferndale on Republic have, since Saturday, seen five-liter water bottles fly off shelves amid soaring demand, particularly from brands aQuellé, Bonaqua, Nestlé and Clover and department stores.

“These brands are mostly in demand, from Nestlé, Clover, aQuellé, Thirsti and others,” said a Checkers sales assistant. “Earlier this morning, we had five liters [bottles] Thirst water fills almost the entire store, but we’re out now.”


Stock replenishment at Pick n Pay Ferndale in Republic

Since most suppliers only bring in inventory on certain days of the week, customers have to wait until they can buy more.

“Clover, for example, delivers on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. And customers will have to wait. If they don’t have water jugs that we fill, they will have to wait,” said the sales associate.


An empty water rack at Pick n Pay Ferndale on Republic.

Water shelves go empty at Checker Ferndale o

Water racks go empty at Checkers Ferndale in Republic


The Spar in Blairgowrie has also seen sales of five-liter water bottles rise, particularly of the Spar brand, which is the cheapest at R24.99.

“Demand has been very high since the announcement. We’ve had a lot of sales,” said store manager Crispin Moyo. “They buy five-liter boxes and [are] It is also filled with our pure water.”


Bottled water at Spar Blairgowrie


Refill purified water in Spar


According to Busi Dlamini, sales associate at Oasis Water, in Ferndale on Republic, foot traffic to the store has been very high since the weekend, with many buying large storage containers and water.

“We get a lot of customers, especially new ones who come in for containers and water – like 100 liters of water. It’s a lot,” she told News24.

Water refill

Customers wait in line to fill water containers and buy more bottled water at Oasis Ferndale

The fastest selling containers are the 25-liter containers, Dlamini said, which are the largest in the store.

They cost R240 each, some more [people] Buy six of these. They’ve also bought a 20-litre and a 10-litre. “Some order five of them at once,” she said.

Since the water tank in the oasis fills up at night, there will only be enough stock for one day until the water in the area is restored.

Water refill

A customer fills water bottles before the water runs out

Crazy Plastic

At Crazy Plastics in Ferndale on Republic, 20 and 25 liter buckets, jerry cans, 10 and 20 liter water bottles with taps, and water kegs with taps were flying off the shelves.

“Since Saturday, we’ve been selling like crazy,” said one of the sales assistants. “Yesterday we received stock, but by the end of the day everything was sold out.”

Water container

Water cans with taps are selling fast at Crazy Plastics Ferndale on Republic

The sales associate said the store had received an extra stock of water drums of between 25 and 100 liters, but they were also sold out close to business.

water containers

Leftover water containers in Crazy Plastic

west buck

West Pack Blairgowrie recently revamped their 25 liter plastic water bottles and they are first come, first served.

“I already ran out of stock on Saturday. People were collecting buckets, water containers and everything they could store water in.

Water container

West Pack Blairgowrie water containers

“I had nine bales today and now I’m down to two bales. We’re not taking orders. It’s first-come, first-served, because keeping stock aside for people is very difficult. If I were to keep it for everyone, West Pack Blairgowrie manager Anthony Low said,” I’m already out.”

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