Zimbabwe mealie-meal goes into black market

SOME unscrupulous Bulawayo residents are hoarding Government subsidised roller meal and selling it at exorbitant prices.

Earlier this month, Government introduced a roller meal subsidy to cushion citizens from the increasing cost of mealie-meal.

This led to prices of roller mealie-meal which was selling for $100 or more for a 10kg bag, dropping by 50 percent.

The subsidised roller mealie meal has been in short supply on the market amid revelations that it is being channelled to the black market.

A snap survey by the State media revealed the roller meal which is supposed to be sold for $50 for a 10 kg bag, is now being sold for up to $80 by vendors at what is now referred to as the people’s shops.

Investigations by the media revealed that these vendors are working in cahoots with employees at some retail shops who are now supplying them with the mealie- meal.

“Through our contacts at the shops we now know when the roller meal will be delivered and it’s not surprising that we always get it. We are able to buy many bags because the workers at the retail outlets are also benefiting. We are selling a 10 kg bag for $70 or $80 depending on the demand,” said a vendor who declined to be named.

A vendor operating from Nkulumane’s Sekusile shops said each time mealie-meal is delivered, she gets some.

“I’m a vendor here, when it’s delivered, I will be right here so I just call my children to join the queue and we buy three or four bags which we later sell for a profit,” said the vendor.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube said she has also learnt of the problem.

“I’ve received this communication from concerned citizens who spoke about this strongly. One person called me I think just an hour ago. She raised concerns that there were some people who were now hoarding the subsidised roller meal and selling it on the black market, she was appealing to Government to take action,” said Cde Ncube.

She said she would get in touch with relevant Government departments to investigate the allegations.

Cde Ncube said it was unfair for individuals to profiteer from subsidised roller meal meant to cushion especially the vulnerable.

“Greed and corruption will not take us anywhere as a people. Those involved in this should stop forthwith. They should allow other residents to benefit from Government’s programmes. We are in a drought period. Checking on the weather conditions, we might be headed for another drought,” said Cde Ncube.