Many people have been spending long hours in Queues during this 21-day lockdown, making is difficult to support Govt’s calls to maintain social distancing due to shortages of Mealie-meal.
Some residents told Chronicle yesterday that they have to leave home as early as 4AM to join the mealie-meal queues but that does not guarantee getting the product, forcing desperate families to turn to the black market.
Depending on the area, some unscrupulous dealers are selling the subsidised mealie-meal, whose price is officially pegged at $70 a 10kg bag.
Bulawayo residents who spoke to our news crew said the situation is worsened by mini-cartels operating in various suburbs getting mealie-meal at the expense of those in need.
Shop owners, local councillors and unscrupulous police officers controlling queues are said to be used as a conduit to divert the mealie-meal to the black market.
The distribution of Government’s subsidised mealie-meal has been marred with corruption for some time and recently a Silo Food Industries employee from Bulawayo was arrested for diverting the product to the black market.
The case against Buhle Dube (37) of Kensington is still before the courts and she is jointly charged with the Stanley Chimatira and Samkeliso Nyathi who are former employees at Silo Food Industries and are still at large.
Yesterday, a Chronicle news crew observed that some shops are demanding that residents pay for the product in cash only even though it is scarce as most banks are closed to mitigate against Covid-19.