Following the recent decision by government to ban traditional beer from being sold in households, Francistown City councilors have reacted angrily to the new regulations, saying that there was never enough consultation before the regulations were made and added that the regulations are set to impoverish Batswana.
During a consultation meeting held by the Deputy Director of Trade and Consumer Affairs, Seipati Olweny, last week, the councilors spat fire at government saying that thorough research and consultation with the councilors as community leaders should have been done.
“As councilors, we were never consulted on where the sellers will operate their businesses from if they are removed from their homes. As a matter of fact, the government should be aware that Francistown does not have enough land to relocate the traditional beer sellers. There are only four depots in Francistown and where does government expect all these traders to go?” asked Tabengwa Tabengwa, Councilor for Ikagaleng Ward.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry recently introduced the new regulations, which will be enforced from January 1st, 2012. The regulations will prohibit households from selling traditional beer such as Chibuku and Phafana.
Chibuku will now have to be sold at specific areas such as depots. Traditional beers such as sorghum beer and khadi will still be sold from homesteads but will be monitored by tribal leaders.
However, Tabengwa went on to attack the government, saying that the new regulations are only there to further impoverish the poor as most traditional beer sellers cannot afford to rent expensive premises. He said this will result in the closure of their businesses.
“We will not agree with these regulations until consultation with the councilors is done. We are the representatives of our people and we should have been consulted on these,” he said.
Ignatius Moswaane, the councilor for Monarch South location, also lambasted the government for implementing the regulation without much involvement of the public and the councilors. He bashed the government for making decisions unilaterally, saying that such regulations are going to contribute to the escalation of poverty as the traders will shut down their businesses and will be left with no income.
Another councilor, Steven Michael for Ipopeng Ward, also expressed displeasure with how the regulations were made by government, saying that there was no consultation with the councilors, especially on how the sellers would be assisted.
The objective of the meeting by the officers from the Trade and Consumer Affairs was to consult with the traditional beer sellers and to also inform them about the new regulations.