Maputo – Despite promises of 24 hour production and distribution of its soft drinks, the company Coca-Cola Sabco has failed miserably to supply the Maputo market at precisely the time of year when there is the greatest demand for its products.
The 300 millilitre bottles of Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and their sister drinks were completely unavailable in the supermarkets visited by AIM over the past few days. Just a few cans of some of the less popular drinks were available.
In the wholesale deposits, the drinks were sometimes available, but at exorbitant prices. Coca-Cola Sabco’s recommended wholesale price is 148 meticais (about 5.5 US dollars) for a crate of 24 330 millilitre bottles. But AIM has found these crates on sale for 240 or 250 meticais.
The speculators are sometimes denounced to the authorities, and the independent television station STV reported one instance of trade inspectors descending on one greedy wholesaler and fining him for his extortionate prices.
But the inspectors cannot be everywhere, and disgruntled consumers find themselves faced with the choice of paying up or returning home empty handed.
Just before Xmas, Coca-Cola Sabco issued a press release which blamed high demand for the “irregular distribution” of its drinks – as if the company had been taken by surprise by the Xmas and New Year holidays, and did not realize that high temperatures (normal in a Mozambican December) lead people to consume more soft drinks.