Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, the country’s biggest producer, has, ‘every right to represent the alcohol sector, purely because of its dominant and influential position within the sector," independent sources have told Botswana Guardian this week.
“KBL is better placed to represent the sector’s interests. Any alcohol trader in Botswana, profits in one way or the other from KBL products,” said one liquor trader who refused to be named. KBL, which is a unit of Sechaba Holdings, has taken government to court following alcohol ban which government imposed last month.
However, in his responding affidavit, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has questioned why KBL is claiming to be representing the sector. “The applicant (KBL) avers that it has to bring this application on the basis that it has an interest in the end consumer having access to purchase beverages.
The said consumer is not part of this proceedings,” said Masisi in his affidavit. Furthermore, the President said KBL has no standing in representing wholesalers, transporters, retailers, among others. However, one source told Botswana Guardian that the President is ill-advised on the matter. “It’s surprising that the President says KBL cannot represent consumers and wholesalers yet he knows very well the chain in which alcohol products goes through, right from production up to the end consumer.
The reality is that all these sub sectors of the economy have been affected as a result of the alcohol ban,” said the source. The alcohol sector employs well over 50 000 people in addition to over 200 000 dependents of those who work within the sector. Through its Kickstart project, KBL has funded hundreds of young entrepreneurs. This week, KBL spokesman, Masegonyana Madisa confirmed that the Kickstart initiative has since been suspended as a result of current challenges that the sector currently find itself in.