By Idah Mhetu
FIERY Norton MP, Temba Mliswa Saturday vowed to close all shops in his constituency found overcharging or selling government’s subsidised mealie-meal in foreign currency.
On Saturday, Mliswa teamed up with Grain Millers Association (GMAZ) chairperson, Tafadzwa Musarara to monitor the selling of government subsidised maize-meal in Norton’s high-density suburb of Katanga.
The staple food is being distributed across the country by GMAZ to consumers for resell at a cost of $70 per 10kg bag.
This is part of efforts by the government to promote social distancing in light of the coronavirus pandemic after locals have been found scrambling to buy the scarce staple.
However, Mliswa’s threats to close all shops run by traders inflating gazetted prices came after one shop owner at Katanga collected money from over 100 customers on the pretext she would buy the mealie-meal of their behalf.
She later tried to refund the customers after falsely claiming she had failed to get the mealie-meal but it turned out she had in fact acquired 250 bags.
It also emerged the woman wanted to divert the mealie-meal to the black market where she would resell a 10kg bag for US$5 (RTGS$220).
Mliswa later reported the shop owner to the police and she was picked for questioning. NewZimbabwe.com could not establish her fate after the arrest.
“I gave the shop owner $70 in the morning and she wrote my name and others who had paid. When the mealie-meal was delivered, she started giving excuses claiming she had failed to get the commodity because her idea was to resell it in US$,” one Norton resident Charity Nyanguwo said.
Mliswa said they would be no room for corruption in Norton.
“Corruption has no room in Norton. I am going to make sure that no one is going to sell the mealie-meal through the black market. The only way to deal with corruption is to flood the market,” he said.
Musarara, who was on the ground when the alleged ‘looter’ was caught, said GMAZ would intervene and ensure the distribution of the maize-meal was free from looting by corrupt shop owners.
“The reason why GMAZ intervened during distribution countrywide is because of limited quantities on the ground and we need to deal with the black market and hoarding that arises whenever there is a shortage,” he said.
Musarara also told NewZimbabwe.com that GMAZ has managed to distribute mealie-meal to retail shops in all provinces and promised more supplies every week.
“We have supplied mealie-meal to all the provinces in the country and we will be doing that until the people stop eating sadza,” he said.