Pieter Boone, who succeeded Richard Brasher as Pick n Pay’s group CEO in April this year, has shared a statement reflecting on the devastation caused by the violent riots this past week. He reassures that relief is on the way for affected communities.
“Like everyone across the country, we were shocked and saddened by the violence and destruction which afflicted so many communities, businesses and institutions earlier this week.
“In common with other retailers, some Pick n Pay and Boxer stores have been affected by the damage and disorder in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
“However, we are greatly heartened to see so many individuals and communities upholding what is right and good, and helping to bring an end to violence,” said Boone.
“We also know that many people in many areas – particularly in KwaZulu-Natal – are suffering from the damage to essential infrastructure, and are finding it difficult to obtain essential food and groceries.
“The situation remains fragile. But we want to assure customers and communities that our Pick n Pay and Boxer teams are working flat out to bring essential supplies from Gauteng and the Western Cape into the affected areas.
“Key to this is N3 highway between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, which has just reopened.
“This enables us to begin the task of transporting large volumes of essential products to the communities that most need them,” he continued.
Boone says Pick n Pay has already reopened many of its stores in KwaZulu-Natal and the affected parts of Gauteng, and more stores are set to be reopening in the coming days.
“As we do this, the safety of our colleagues and customers remains our first priority.
“Our message to the affected communities is this. The relief effort has begun. The relief is coming.” said Boone.
“We want to reassure customers in the rest of South Africa that the manufacturing and distribution capacity to supply your needs remains in place. We are in constant dialogue with our valued suppliers of fresh meat and produce, frozen, canned and packaged foods, and groceries.
“Some have been damaged and disrupted by the violence. But, like us, they are getting back on their feet.
“Together we will do what we do best – supply our customers with what you need and want,” he added.
Boone says the retail group has seen some elevated demand for some products in recent days. But it is nowhere near the levels seen at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We thank all our customers for shopping normally at this critical time. This is the best way you can help us to maintain a steady supply of what you need. And it is the best way you can help the communities in greatest need in the affected areas.
“Pick n Pay and Boxer already has a very active Feed the Nation programme in place to assist communities in need during the Covid-19 crisis. We are expanding this work to assist the humanitarian effort. Please look out for ways that you can help in our stores and through social media.”
“South Africa is bloodied but not bowed. By working together we will get through this,” Boone concluded.