Choppies, the indigenous chain store Choppies group, this week threw the spanner in the works of the retail industry when it unveiled a batch of graduates that will head the group’s branch network around the country.
The 61 local graduates were presented at a colourful function at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC) early this week. They will join the 40 that have already joined the Choppies ranks.
In a brief interview with Sunday Standard on Friday, the Chief Executive Officer of Choppies, Ram Ottapath, said the function was to do ‘a proper introduction’ of the graduates who are joining their ranks.
This brings to 101 the total number of locals who will be managers. The move, which has excited the Minister of Trade and Industry, Neo Moroka, who advised other large companies to emulate Choppies, will keep the industry talking, especially in a country where citizen empowerment is not clearly defined as compared to new broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) of South Africa.
“It has clearly shown that where there is a will, there is a way,” Moroka argued. “More importantly, it has shown that citizen empowerment is doable. It has raised the bar for public/private sector partnership.”
Choppies, a Botswana-made company, last year rose to the occasion when it advertised 68 positions of trainee management positions that made the leaders of organised business (BOCCIM) to call for other chain stores, especially South African ones, to emulate the group and give Batswana managerial positions to make Choppies a true “reka Botswana” outfit.
The six-year-old Choppies store has over 48 branch networks around the country. The group has, since its inception, created over 3, 000 jobs and has been praised for giving local producers a chance to supply it with vegetables and staple food items.
“By going the extra mile in the face of uncompromising competition and the risk of incurring financial losses,” Moroka said, “the Choppies group has clearly demonstrated its commitment to develop the capacity and capability of Botswana to successfully engage in business.”