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LOCKDOWN – DAY ONE

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Chaos as shoppers miss taxi deadline

CHAOS has broken out at the Kimberley Taxi Rank in Bultftontein Road as shoppers, stocked with heavy grocery parcels, have missed the 9am deadline when taxis have to stop operating.

The approximately 100 shoppers, who are still waiting for transport back to different parts of the city, have questioned how they are expected to get back home if the taxis do not operate. “We have meat and other frozen goods – we cannot sit here until 4pm when the taxis are allowed to operate again. What must we do?”

Others have pointed out that they were not aware that the taxis couldn’t operate after 9am. “This whole thing is unfair because the shops only open at 8am and then we had to wait in queues before we could go inside and do our shopping.”

They stated that even if they organised private vehicles to fetch them, only one passenger was allowed per vehicle. “This whole thing hasn’t been thought out properly. The only option we have is to wait here until 4pm, which defeats the purpose of not being out in groups in the streets.”

Taxi drivers said that they were not prepared to drive after the 9am curfew, as they had been warned that they would be arrested and their vehicles confiscated. “We understand that the people are stranded, but our hands are tied.”

Meanwhile in the city’s CBD there were little signs of activity with low traffic flow and only a few people on the streets. There is a low police presence in town, although queues have already formed at local pharmacies and supermarkets, as customers wait outside before being allowed to go in. Many residents appear to be unaware of the concept of social distancing, standing in close proximity to each other. 

Some stores that sell food as well as other non-essential items, are rearranging their stock in order to display essential goods.

In other Northern Cape towns, like Upington, stores that sell food, as well as shops like Clicks at the mall are open. Many people have decided to do their shopping early and there is already some activity around the open stores.

In Galeshewe, the streets are also quiet with the usual children playing around now absent.