Sky News correspondent John Sparks reported that several food warehouses and a rice depot were “invaded” and “ransacked” by residents of Durban, South Africa.
Sparks described the scene in the Mobeni area as “utter chaos” and “out of control” as looters “cleared” what was inside the facilities.
He said they brought cars and trucks to fill their vehicles with whatever they could find.
There have been mass looting and riots in several parts of the city and elsewhere in the country, including parts of Johannesburg, such as Vosloorus in the eastern part of the city.
The unrest was sparked by the imprisonment last week of former President Jacob Zuma, which turned into days of looting in two of South Africa’s nine provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
At least 72 people were killed and 1,234 were arrested in waves of riots. The violence has not spread to the country’s other seven provinces, where police are on alert.
Many deaths were caused by chaotic stampedes as thousands stole food, electrical appliances, alcohol and clothing from stores, police said.
The government said 2,500 troops had been deployed in the streets to support the officers and try to restore law and order.
But Sparks said the military was nowhere to be seen because people were only “helping themselves.”
He added: “It’s really out of control.”
“What we have here is something quite extraordinary. People have broken into the food stores and they are stripping them, they are emptying them.”
Among the stolen items were mattresses, kitchen appliances and tins of sardines.
In east Johannesburg, some shopping malls continued to be targeted, while in Soweto Township, south of the city, police and military units patrolled malls and streets.
Acting Presidency Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the government was working with the Consumers Council to ensure food safety.
We feared that anarchy and looting could lead to food shortages.
Sparks had previously been to another mass looting location where people told him they were “hungry.”
Many South Africans lost their jobs during the pandemic, including during shutdowns, and they were living “very day to day existence”.
Sparks said the COVID restrictions “have hurt people here.”
Violence erupted after Zuma began serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court last week.
He was jailed for refusing to comply with a court order to testify in a state-backed investigation investigating corruption allegations while he was president from 2009 to 2018.