Kana middle class le bahumi ba lehatshe le ba selfish. Ga nke ba akanya gore ba ba sa kgoneng bone ba dira jang ha go nna jaana. You close borders for potatoes etc and also uniforms. But what is your plan for that man or woman in Mosetse, Lepashe, Zoroga, Gweta etc who depends on a steady supply of affordable potatoes to feed her kids and put bread on the table? Same with uniforms - who feels the pain the most? It’s the poor man or woman out there. It’s they that feel the pain but their pain doesn’t matter to you does it?

They’re invisible to you though. Also, who wanted this ban? Can’t just be govt. The textiles industry must not hide. They must come out and tell us why they wanted something that they are not ready to actually take up. They’ve known this for the better part of a year.

They should’ve moved to fill in the gap that got created because they wanted it. But they’re hiding. Government should learn to phase things out looking at the material conditions in place. Perhaps Year One restrict imports by half.

Then Year Two do a total ban. Meanwhile, aggressively promote capacity. E seng go tika feisi ya modimo nthuse mo re go bonang. This thinking of ‘shock them into action’ through shortages is just not fair on the consumer. The consumer wants to buy goods, they just want to consume and they couldn’t care less where a product is from.

Their business is primarily to consume, nation building is secondary to them. The policy maker and the politician are the ones whose business is primarily to build a nation. Now they fail and pass on the costs to the consumer with a strategy of shock and awe with shortages. Totally unfair. [LAWRENCE OOKEDITSE]


It appears consumers are no longer a consideration when we make policy decisions ,yet the decisions impact them the most. I have yet to hear anyone talk of benefits to the consumer when debating the ban on imports of horticultural produce , and now the ban on importation of school uniforms. Some find it okay for consumers to be exploited in the name of CEE (Citizen Economic Empowerment). Government must draw a balance between the interests of the industries it is trying to stimulate, against the wider interests of the consumer. It cannot be acceptable that the policy interventions have resulted in higher prices to the consumer and product shortages. The consumer is the largest stakeholder in all this and their interests must also be protected. [BILLY SEKGOROROANE]


I struggle to understand what the issue is all about, really. Uniforms aren't a precondition for learning. Learning can go on le fa di uniform di tlhaela. In winter months government often relaxes rules on school uniforms. The anti-ban campaign wants to make it look like the sky is about to fall. It’s all wolf. If the shortages persist government would certainly issue a temporary uniform waiver to ease pressure on parents. It's in the national interest for the ban to be sustained. We can debate whether or not it was hurried but that's another issue. I support it 100%. I don't see any child being chased out of the classroom because their parents couldn't get them uniform on time when there is obvious scarcity in the market. Like I said, it's all wolf. It's in the nature of policy transitions to experience momentary shocks, even on prices. The prices will self-correct as the market moves to cap the scarcity. Government is pursuing a grander ambition of CEE, ka the ban ya uniforms. I hope for more bans in the coming months. We should be celebrating that and not undermining its efforts. We have always asked for a robust approach to CEE. Now that efforts are being made in that regard there is hue and cry over it. Nnyaa banna, sit down. Ga lo itse se lo se batlang. [KGOSI NGAKAAGAE]


The ban on school uniform imports may be a noble thing to do by our government as the long term benefits are clear for everyone to see. But in the short term, government can still do something to cushion the have-nots against the immediate repercussions of this welcome move. As it is, parents should not really be struggling with buying of uniform in the manner we see today. I feel for a parent who having been used to buying a shirt for P30-00 at Pep, now has to fork out P120-00 for the same shirt from local producers. We understand why the prices have to go this high for local producers but we should also remember that they are not the only people that matter. The ordinary man in the street is suffering the most. One wishes this thing had begun in the middle of the year when parents would have already bought school uniforms. All in all, I support the move by government. We cannot feel happy that we buy uniform cheap from foreigners when it is for those foreigners that we are creating employment and giving them our money. It has even shown with some of these foreign-owned retail stores when they refused to give our local producers space in their shops to sell the uniforms. Only Choppies agreed, and with all their stores all over the country, more local producers can benefit. It shocks me however, that even when Choppies agreed to assist at no benefit to themselves, we have some knowledgeable Batswana who attack the store for allowing locally-produced uniforms to be sold at their properties. What wrong has Choppies done? It is okay for foreign-owned entities to sell foreign products but we find it wrong for a local entity to allow local products to be sold through their stores? Haibo! [TSHEPANG MOOKETSANE]