The Namibian (Windhoek)

7 January 2013

Namibia: Business Bemoan Lack of Coca-Cola

A GROUP of businesspeople from the north of the country say they are fed-up with the service delivery of Namibia Beverages, specifically the supply of Coca-Cola over the festive season.

They staged a peaceful demonstration at Oshakati last week where they handed over a petition to the company's management in the north.

The petition was forwarded to Frik Oosthuizen, the managing director of Namibia Beverages.

They say that they have reported "the issue of unfair treatment over the years" - to no avail.

Namibia Beverages management and sales representatives have come under fire for allegedly "just selling to their business friends and families. If you are non-related to the above-mentioned, you cannot receive the quantity of the stock you ordered and you will get it very late."

The petition further accuses "some employees of Coca-Cola" of "betraying and defrauding the business community by using their accounts and buy[ing] stock illegally and without their knowledge".

They also allege that some businesses pay for stock in cash but have to wait for 30 days before it is delivered. "Therefore, enough is enough. We cannot continue suffering like this in a free and independent country like Namibia."

According to them, certain businesses are favored above others and "throughout [the] December holidays, they are doing business well, having enough of their stocks while others are stranded and go begging".

Various attempts to get hold of Oosthuizen since Friday proved futile.

On Friday, he said he was meeting with suppliers and did not know when he would be available. Yesterday, his cellphone went unanswered. A message was left for him at home - without any success.

Meanwhile, the Northern branch of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) distanced itself from the protest march. "I just want to make it categorically clear to all our members that the chamber is not taking part of the planned demonstration neither support the action as planned," Koneka Iindji, the chairman of the NCCI Northern branch, said. "Of course, the NCCI is the premier voice of the business community and we are an advocate for northern businesses and residents, and hub of commercial, social and philanthropic activities in our northern part of our country. However, our response to this is that we are having a very lengthy discussion with Coca-Cola Company top leadership to see how best we can solve the matter amicably and be reminded that some of the issues will not be possible to be resolved overnight and we need to be patient sometimes."

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