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Zonal maize meal facility starts in Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
15 Apr 2020 at 07:39hrs | Views
THE zonal maize meal distribution system introduced by the Grain Millers' Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) is set to commence today in Bulawayo and retailers who demand cash for the staple food face arrest.

The countrywide programme will result in the product being delivered to residential shops in selected urban areas that include Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare, Marondera, Kwekwe, Gweru and Chitungwiza as part of efforts to ensure the public conforms with the country's National Lockdown policy.

The system is aimed at curbing the rampant movement of people in search of the basic commodity as well as improving social distancing in queues at shops as part of efforts to restrict the spread of Covid-19. Under the new system, a resident from, for example, Gwabalanda suburb, cannot buy mealie-meal in Magwegwe North because their allocation would be in Gwabalanda.

Police have said henceforth, they will arrest people found roaming in suburbs where they are not resident under the pretext of looking for mealie-meal.

In a telephone interview yesterday, GMAZ spokesperson Mr Garikai Chaunza said only registered retail outlets will receive the first phase of the mealie-meal distribution facility. Mr Chaunza said the first phase of the distribution is only meant for the seven identified areas countrywide.

"As of the moment, we will distribute the first phase of the mealie-meal in the areas we have identified countrywide as from today to Sunday and the arrangement will be carried out during the course of the national lockdown.

"Depending on the maize meal arrangement with the Government, the programme is expected to spread out to other towns as we ensure that every citizen gets the product," said Mr Chaunza.

Although GMAZ donated 40 000 tonnes of grain to Government, Mr Chaunza said he did not know how much Bulawayo had been allocated. Bulawayo has been grouped into five zones according to the residential suburbs and the deliveries will start today ending on Sunday.

Bulawayo residents are set to buy mealie-meal at their residential places using a 'book' system and a divided zoning system, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Secretary for Administration Mr Thembelani Dube revealed. Mr Dube said ward section leaders will be in charge of the process with every household expected to have a book in order to be able to purchase mealie-meal.

Lodgers are also included in the facility as they constitute separate households from their landlords.

"In Bulawayo, we have introduced a sub-divided zoning system where every suburb will be divided into sections and residents are expected to buy a book and hand it over to the section leaders who will be in charge of the process of purchasing mealie-meal.

"Tenants will have separate books. Residents working with their section leaders will have their books stamped before every purchase to prove they are a resident within the area," said Mr Dube.

Mr Dube said they have consulted the police to ensure there is order and everyone gets mealie-meal regardless of political affiliation as this is a Government programme. "Section leaders will be responsible for directing residents to their nearest retail shops where the police will also be stationed to ensure the smooth flow of sales," he said.

Today, distribution will be made at retail outlets in Emakhandeni, Luveve, Cowdray Park, New Lobengula, Old Lobengula, Njube, Old Magwegwe, Magwegwe West, Magwegwe North, Pelandaba and Pelandaba West while tomorrow the mealie-meal will be distributed to Pumula South, Old Pumula, Hyde Park, Nkulumane, Nkulumane 11, Nkulumane 12, Glengarry, Nketa 6, Nketa 7, Pumula East and Pumula North retail outlets.

On Friday, retail outlets that will receive the product are Sizinda, Tshabalala, Emganwini, Mpopoma, Thorngrove, Mzilikazi, Makokoba, Nketa 7, Nketa 8, Nketa 9 and Bellevue whereas on Saturday the product will be distributed to retail outlets in Newton West, West Somerton, Barham Green, Southwold, Morningside, Montrose, Famona, Fourwinds, Khumalo, Hillside and Douglasdale.

The first phase of the distribution will end in the city on Sunday at shops in Burnside, Selbourne Park, Killarney, Parklands, Romney Park, Queens Park West, Queens Park East, Northend, Malindela, Trenance and Waterford.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Mr Denford Mutashu said police will monitor the distribution programme.

"The programme is being spearheaded by the police in association with GMAZ and CRZ.

"The mealie-meal will be sold in modes of payments that include RTGS and cash. The police will be in place to ensure there is no retail outlet which demands cash. We held a meeting yesterday in Bulawayo with the millers and retailers to ensure that no one demands cash," said Mr Mutashu.

He said demanding cash is speculative behaviour that police have said they would guard against. "Police will escort the delivery trucks and monitor the situation on the ground at all suburbs accompanied by some of the stakeholders in the programme to ensure the public does not hoard the mealie meal," said Mr Mutashu.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo residents have slammed the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) for changing the zonal maize meal distribution schedule which they indicated through a statement will commence yesterday.

In a snap survey yesterday by Chronicle, scores of residents were seen queuing at Old Pumula and Pumula South identified sub-divided zones by the BPRA. Four sections had been set up as point of sales namely Section A; Gobhoza, Section B; Campion, Section C; Bekezela ko Ashys area, Section D1 Chippies & Eyethu (Makoni area) and Section D koMpofu.

A disgruntled resident Mr Simon Dube said: "GMAZ should have made an official communication with our residents association as we have been waiting all day and no delivery has been made."

A shop owner at one of the suburbs who declined to be named said when they visited the millers' offices yesterday morning, they were told that there was no packaging for the mealie-meal but were advised to book for the mealie-meal which they buy at $63 per 10kg.


Source - chroncile

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