“It was like Christmas!” said Eric Matondo, manager of Harley’s Liquor in Cape Town, the morning after a spike in booze sales on Tuesday afternoon.
“People were buying box wine, champagne, spirits, beers, cider, everything. I had to send our driver to pick up more stock this morning.”
Matondo said the panic-buying was mainly as a result of a voice note which circulated on Tuesday saying that President Cyril Ramaphosa would address the nation and reinstate the booze ban.
“I heard the booze ban rumour from my neighbour across the road who came and told us, and then I heard it on the radio,” said Dante Zwaan. “Of course it will spread like wildfire as people are scared of losing their chance to buy alcohol, like the last time Cyril did it.
“I believe because of the lack of trust in government, people are just freaking out, which leads to panic buying,” said Werner Lots.
“Our government is dropping random surprises on us and at this point we wouldn’t be surprised if they did it and opened the sales again, because they always do this to us,” said SB Makone.
“People are scared because government is surprising people. Next time the government must give people a bit of time so they have time to buy their alcohol,” said Matondo.
Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu dismissed the rumours as fake news on Tuesday afternoon. However, many South Africans were not taking any chances and leapt into action. Liquor store queues snaked while booze sales spiked.