- Chibuku traders plead with Malesu
In what was said to be the largest public turnout, Francistown Chibuku sellers came in their hundreds recently to plead with Trade and Industry Minister Dorcas Mokgatho-Malesu to be lenient in implementing the new traditional beer regulations.
Come July 1st should the Minister forge ahead with the opaque beer regulations, the lives and families of over 5000 beer sellers in the country are most likely go into oblivion. These were the fears that were expressed during the three hour consultation meeting with the distributors and retailers of the brew commonly known as “shake shake”.
The concerned sellers did not resist the new regulations, but rather called for the grace period to be extended, while the new selling points were still being sorted out.
Ngaka Kgoboe,79 one of the many Chibuku traders said he was not against the sale of beer being regulated but wanted to be assured by the minister that he would get a commercial plot from where he would operate from. “I am one of those who want the selling of Chibuku to be taken out from the homes.
I have sold the beer for many years and have used the proceeds to support my family and all I want is a plot to sell from,” the old man told Malesu. In support of fellow colleague, Ndachedzilo Tom who is popularly known as Mma Dubula said: “shake shake is my employer, my office and my husband. Each morning when I look at my crates of beer I see myself like any person in an office with pen and paper.
Please help me beg with our minister to feel pity for us shake shake sellers and allow us to continue selling from our homes unitl such a time when the beer halls are available,” pleaded the
57 year old woman, who was almost in tears.
77-year old Manuel Semau of Kgaphamadi, a father of eight children expressed disappointment in the city council for refusing to allocate them plots from which they could operate their depots from. “Please help us to get plots, we are not refusing to move out from our homes, the problem is getting the commercial plots.
Chibuku is our livelihood. I have a wife who needs to be looked after! It would be a shame for an old man of my age to start stealing. You will send me to prison and that I don’t want. As for the security and keeping crime in check, I have a gun at my home which I use to deter criminals. I don’t entertain violence, people in my neighbourhood know that I don’t entertain nonsense at my depot,” added worried Manuel.
Meanwhile among the many councilors and legislators in attendance, Peter Williams of Tonota Sub –District Council indicated the adverse impact the new regulations would have on the traders.
“I propose that we leave our parents to sell the beer from their homes, but regulate the hours of selling. Even if we were to build as many beer halls as in other countries such as Zimbabwe, they would not benefit all our parents, nor would government be able to eradicate the poverty that these people will be in.
For her part Makgatho-Malesu advised vendors to form clusters so that more people can operate from one plot as the government was not going to be able to give all of them.
“You must also consider venturing into other businesses,’’ she said.