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Dada fortifies grip on poultry industry

Satar Dada, Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) long-time treasurer and renowned business magnate has acquired Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise restaurants across the country.

The development follows acquisition approval by the Competition Authority (CA), allowing Dada’s Callus (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of South African firmCountry Bird Holdings (Pty), to take over the fast food outlets fromVPB Propco (Pty) Ltd.

Country Bird Holdings also owns stakes in a number of ventures across the country. The string of companies include Master Feeds (Pty) Ltd the parent company for Nutri-Feeds and Ross Brooders controlling 90 per cent of the countries feeds producing units and hatcheries.

Dada flexed his business muscle towards KFC, after the company failed to comply with operating license requirements imposed by the Poultry Licence Committee (PLC),
Last year, PLC imposed a local procurement quota for retailers and franchised fast food outlets, signalling efforts to prop up business for small poultry producers.

PLC crafted a 30 percent poultry products import regulation reserving 70 percent for local procurement.

Intended beneficiaries of PLC decision (small producers) were elbowed out due to inability to meet quality and quantity demands required by franchised international fast food outlets – Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Chicken Licken, Hungry Lion and Nandos among others.

Failure to meet cutthroat demands from franchises by small producers has handed Dada’s Tswana Pride (Pty) Ltd and its associated companies, controlling approximately 90 percent of the market, opportunity to clincheddeals and solely supplyfast food outletsin Botswana.

WeekendPost investigation last year revealed that the PLC’s decision saw retailers and fast food outlets buying poultry meat from the privileged producers at exorbitant prices.

Tswana Pride has automatically become the only supplier to the twelve (12) KFC outlets in Botswana.

Sources within the food industry have hinted that though fast food outlets and retailers can apply for import permits when demand is high, lack of storage facilities limits efforts to stockpile.

The industry alleges that Tswana Pride (Pty) Ltd capitalise on the import regulation freezing period and hoard from South Africa in large quantities and to late resell.

Tswana Pride (Pty) Ltd’s monopoly and prices control has inflated the chicken prices meat in Botswana, making it more expensive than in neighbouring South Africa.

Acquisition History

Competition Authority (CA) which approved the acquisition in 10th December 2015 has instructed that Callus (Pty) Ltd to ensure that there are no job losses.Callus Pty (Ltd) has acquired KFC franchise restaurants in Botswana, together with all the assets related to the operation of the KFC franchise stores of VPB Propco (Pty) Ltd.

According to a statement from CA Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gideon Nkala the Authority noted that although there are no substantive competition concerns that would arise in the market for quick-service or fast food restaurants, the transaction has raised some public interest concerns.

“The Authority also instructed Callus (Pty) Ltd to continue sourcing from the same suppliers that were engaged by VPB and are YUM Restaurants International (Pty) Ltd accredited, as well as consider sourcing from any other YUM accredited suppliers based in Botswana,” he said.

Furthermore, it was ordered to demonstrate to the Authority efforts made towards facilitating that local suppliers penetrate or meet YUM Restaurants International (Pty) Ltd’s standards of accreditation.

Nkala remarked that Callus (Pty) Ltd is also mandated to annually (for a period of three years) submit to the Competition Authority, a detailed report indicating a list of its new and old Botswana based suppliers, as well as the progress it has made on the other conditions.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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