Pamela Shumba , Senior Reporter
ZANU-PF national secretary for the commissariat Cde Victor Matemadanda yesterday warned businesses in Bulawayo against selling goods at exorbitant prices, saying corrective measures will soon be taken against those found overcharging.
Cde Matemadanda, who is also the Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, was in the city yesterday and visited some shops to see if prices had been reduced. His visit came a few days after President Mnangagwa called on shops to stop over-charging.
President Mnangagwa said that measures would be taken against businesses that were taking advantage of consumers.
Cde Matemadanda visited some shops in the CBD and spoke to members of the public to hear their grievances and general feeling about the economy.
He spoke to vendors outside Econet along Leopold Takawira Avenue and proceeded to City Hall where he also spoke to the vendors and purchased some of their products. He passed through Chicken Inn along 8th Avenue before going to the Bulawayo Centre, where he visited Choppies and Topics and also spoke to consumers and some shop owners.
Cde Matemadanda also visited Pick n Pay Hyper, Heads and Hooves, Mandla’s Hair Salon, Adam’s Flea Market and OK supermarket along Lobengula Street and Renkini Bus Terminus.
In an interview after the tour, Cde Matemadanda said it was unfortunate that people in Bulawayo were being treated unfairly by businesses.
“I came to Bulawayo to see if prices have been reduced in the shops following the announcement by President Mnangagwa. It’s unfortunate that prices are still too high in most of the shops and this must come to an end. I’ll report back to the President so that corrective measures are taken to protect the consumers.
“What is happening here is daylight robbery and it must stop. There will be penalties for all businesses overpricing their goods and we’ll name and shame them. Every shop has an operating licence. We’re going to make sure that some of these licences are withdrawn and given to patriotic and responsible people,” said Cde Matemadanda.
He expressed disappointment that some shops tried to change prices when they saw him while others were not putting price tags on their products.
“This means that they know that the prices they are charging are wrong and they know that they’re punishing an already suffering population. That’s cruelty and corruption and they must be punished for that.
“We’re not saying people should operate at a loss but we’re saying they must be responsible and the President has said prices must go down because they’re too high. There’s no justification for people to overcharge their customers,” said Cde Matemadanda.
He added that in one of the shops, the price tags on the shelves were different from the prices at the till point.
“That’s robbery and we’re saying we can’t develop if we have businesses that have no discipline and ethics. All businesses must have operating and business ethics.
“Some shops have branches in different towns but you find prices of the same products different. The people of Zimbabwe elected us to run this country and we’re going to do all we can to protect them and make sure that this country is well governed,” said Cde Matemadanda.
He urged members of the public to report business people who are overcharging, saying even businesspeople who are Zanu-PF members will be punished if they are found wanting.
Members of the public who spoke to Cde Matemadanda said apart from overpricing at the shops, they wanted the Government to resolve other issues which include water and electricity shortages, cash shortages, overcharging by landlords and unemployment. — @pamelashumba1