The Johannesburg market has been facing serious challenges due to cable theft this week.
“The lack of electricity has a disastrous impact on the quality and safety of agricultural products,” says Christo van der Rheede, Agri SA executive director.
The organisation released a statement on Friday, 29 October 2021, saying that power disruptions had occurred three days earlier and that the power has still not been restored. “This is unacceptable for a market that provides agricultural products to 15 million people daily.”
Agri SA is appealing to the Johannesburg city mayor and council to do everything in their power to restore electricity supply to the Johannesburg market and to put the necessary security measures in place to prevent the theft of electricity cables in future.
“During power outages the market does not have the ability to supply power to the cold storage rooms. This has resulted in these storage rooms operating without cooling since 26 October 2021, with disastrous consequences to agricultural products. The value of stock in these cold rooms amounts to between R30 million and R61 million rand.”
The temperature in cold storage rooms should be running at ±2°C. Due to a lack of electricity, the temperature is currently above 10°C and it is compromising the freshness and quality of products relying on cold storage tremendously.
Ripening rooms have a similar issue as ripening cycles are totally compromised, resulting in massive losses to producers due to poor ripening quality and other factors.
“The losses by producers are estimated at around R500 000 per day.”
The market has generators that can only supply power to sales areas.
“At night these generators are switched off and agents have to run their own generators to provide lighting. This poses serious safety consequences as working in darkness is dangerous and compromises worker safety,” Van der Rheede adds.
Agri SA is calling for immediate action and for city officials to restore the power to the Johannesburg market.
“Compromising the safety and quality of agricultural products is in contravention of the Agricultural Products Standards Act. Hence, urgent intervention by the City to restore, maintain and protect the electricity supply to the market is therefore required. Producers do pay 5% of all sales over to the City of Johannesburg, which amounts to R450 million per annum, and expect in return that the market is in a good operational state. They do expect service!”
Retailers and government team up to boost vaccine numbers
Health minister Joe Phaaha stated at a press conference on Friday morning (29 October, 2021) that numerous businesses have contributed incentives to encourage people to be vaccinated. According to him, the rewards will be shared between the general public and healthcare workers.
The following are some of the specific incentives:
- Nandos, a restaurant chain, has contributed 1 000 vouchers to the value of R500 each to be given out to healthcare workers in a prize draw on election day. On 1 November 2021, they will be given to the top-performing immunisation teams at vaccine sites across the country.
- On election day, ride-sharing company Uber will provide a R100 journey to transport healthcare workers to pop-up vaccination locations.
- R100 “Vooma Vouchers” will be provided to adults over 60 who get vaccinated in November as part of a new R26 million pilot scheme. These will be provided to individuals in the form of an SMS and will allow them to shop at Shoprite and Checkers stores.
Several organisations and groups, according to Phaahla, funded the Vooma Vouchers, including the DG Murray Trust, the ELMA Vaccines & Immunisation Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Allan Gray and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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