It is very rare to meat someone who has been able to buy mealie-meal at the government gazetted price of $50 per 10kg. In our latest survey we noticed that all of the large supermarkets which are supposed to obey the law and sell at this price, there was no roller meal to be found at all.
Those branches of the big retailers ( including Choppies, TM, OK, FoodWorld, Spar, Mohemed Mussa) that had maize-meal were only selling refined meal at prices north of $110 per 10kg. It would appear refined maize-meal, being deemed a luxury, is not part of the subsidy program.
Mbare and Downtown tuckshops never seem to run out
In the meantime Downtown Harare and Mbare tuckshops never seem to run out of roller meal no matter what brand you are looking for you will find it there. The strangest thing is that their most popular brand of mealie-meal is Silo which despite all my efforts I haven’t seen being sold in a shops in at least 3 months.
To those who are not aware, Silo is a GMB brand. This means this brand is milled and sold by GMB directly. Instead of it being delivered to shops and being sold for the gazetted $50, Silo 10kgs are instead being sold for between $60-$80 bond in these tuckshops. The only brand of mealie-meal that we have seen on occassion being sold at the official price is Red Seal roller meal 2 and a half weeks ago in FoodWorld.
There have also been reports of shop owners working in cahoots with criminals to externalise subsidised mealie-meal to neighboring countries. Others have been forcing customers to buy other items if they want to “qualify” to buying the mealie-meal. Customers have to spend a certain amount before they qualify.
Government to unleash monitors, that will probably not work
The government’s response has been to promise to hire, train and unleash monitors into the system. That will probably not work either as these individuals are probably going to join the corruption bandwagon.
Why do I think this will fail? Well look at the RBZ and its supposed monitors. Illegal forex dealers just pay their weekly bribes to the police and these supposed monitors. Cheeky ones operate not very far away from the RBZ itself.