There were shockwaves this week as people woke up to the news that the price of maize had doubled. This was all spurred on by a fake GMAZ letter that started doing rounds on social media and called for retailers to hike the price of maize to around $89. Retailers went beyond this and started selling maize-meal at over $100+ per 10kg.

Maize being the staple there was a lot of concern and simmering anger at how maize was becoming another victim of the government’s austerity. Frankly, the move to remove maize subsidies when people are struggling was shocking and frankly ill-thought.

The government makes a prompt u-turn.

Sensing the anger and public mood the government has made a u-turn. The president has said he was not consulted before the measure was announced.

We must create safety nets to help the poor amoung us. The day before yesterday, I heard that the subsidy on grains was removed. I reject that. I want to say it here that I reject it move because mealie meal is a basic commodity for the masses. We cannot remove the subsidy. So I am putting that subsidy back, so that the price comes down. So they will publish it tomorrow and they’ll have to admit that they had not consulted me first.

The president speaking at a rally yesterday.

Accordingly, the subsidies have been reinstated. To be clear the subsidies had not yet been removed as far as we could tell. Remember the GMAZ letter being used to justify the current hikes was fake anyway. According to the budget statement made by the Finance Minister the scrapping of subsidies was going to come into effect in January 2020.