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No, Shoprite, Checkers supermarkets not facing food shortages

The managing director of “Shoprite/Checkers” says certain food items, and washing powder, will become scarce in the next month. That’s the claim in a message circulating on WhatsApp and Facebook in May 2020.

“Besturende Direkteur van Shoprite/Checkers sê, dievolgende items, gaan baie skaars word in die volgende maand,” it reads in Afrikaans. “Dit is : suiker, vis olie, rys en meel. En ook seeppoeier.” The food items are given as sugar, fish oil, rice and flour.

The message says the information is from the “Checkers hoofkantoor” (Checkers headquarters) in Cape Town, South Africa. It ends by advising people to top up if they have extra money.

Shoprite Holdings run several retail chains such as Shoprite, Checkers and USave supermarkets. It has more than 2,900 outlets in 15 African countries.

South Africa is currently under lockdown to control the Covid-19 outbreak. Except for essential workers, people are only allowed to leave their homes “under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant”. 

The food sector has been allowed to continue production during lockdown. But are Shoprite Holdings supermarkets facing shortages of certain goods? We checked. 

‘There is not a shortage’ - Shoprite Holdings

On 13 May Shoprite Holdings released a press statement dismissing the claim as false. 

“The Shoprite Group’s stores including Shoprite, Checkers and USave are fully stocked on all these products,” the statement says.

“The group continues to supply essential products and there is not a shortage of any of the products listed.”

The company urges customers not to stockpile any items, as this could lead to shortages.

Checkers and Shoprite supermarkets are not facing shortages of sugar, fish oil, rice, flour and washing powder. – Naledi Mashishi


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