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LICENCE DELAYS MATSAPHA BOXER’S OPENING

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MBABANE – The new Boxer Superstore in Matsapha has employed over 60 emaSwati but is still not operational about five months after its completion.

Information gathered by the Eswatini News has revealed that the facility’s management is still waiting to get a licence from government, through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, before operations can start.
It has been established that the official opening of this superstore was initially scheduled for December 6, 2023.

However, due to the delay in issuing of the licence by the relevant authorities, operations have been in limbo to-date.
This has left the over 60 emaSwati who had been employed by the superstore stranded and frustrated at the same time. Most of these could not even enjoy their Christmas due to the disappointment over the delay. “This superstore was supposed to start operating in December last year, but due to the licence challenges, it remains closed. This is very frustrating, especially for the over 60  jobless emaSwati that were employed by Boxer management,” a senior Boxer employee confided.

Reporting

It has also been gathered that some of those employed have been reporting to the superstore’s premises with the hope that they would find it open. “You can imagine how it feels to be promised employment just before Christmas, only to be made to wait for months because our government is seemingly dilly-dallying with issuing the licence. People raised concerns about lack of employment during Sibaya, but it appears government is not helping the situation if it would take such a long time to grant a licence,” a concerned Matsapha citizen lamented.

Further investigations uncovered that food commodities that were already in the superstore ahead of its scheduled opening in December last year, had to be removed and distributed to other Boxer outlets due to the licence delay.
“The superstore was good to go in December last year because all the commodities were already inside, but after realising that there were issues with the licence, management decided to remove them and send them to sister outlets, as there were fears that they would get spoiled,” a source closer to Boxer’s management said.

In addition, it has emerged that some Matsapha residents, eager to see the superstore operating, even allegedly threatened to take matters into their own hands after allegedly approaching some Boxer senior employees with an offer to stage a protest over the issue of the delayed licence. 

“They came and pledged to stage a protest over the delayed opening of the superstore. That is how desperate people of Matsapha, are to see Boxer operating. Unfortunately, government holds the ace in ensuring that the shop operates,” said one of the Matsapha residents, who claimed to have been employed at the superstore. A 35-year-old woman from Logoba, who also insisted that she was employed by the superstore, lamented the current situation.

Offer

“When I got this employment last year, I was so excited because I have been struggling without work for a long time now. I used to work at one of the textile firms here in Matsapha, but we were laid off with a couple of others and then came the Boxer offer,” she said. The woman, who said she has two children, stated that her unemployment situation has left her in a state of desperation.

“If you notice, most of the unemployed women around here like myself end up involving themselves in regrettable habits just to put food on the table for their children. It, therefore, becomes even more frustrating when you get a job offer but end up being stranded because my government is taking time to process licence for us to work,” she said.

Another 40-year-old woman who resides at Mhlaleni, shared the same sentiments, even alleging that some of the young ladies who were waiting to start work at Boxer, can now be found on the streets involved in sex trade. “People forget that these young ladies are staying in rented one-room flats and so, if there is no monthly income, some resort to desperate measures just to get money. You find some as young as 15 years already involved in this trade, which is bad,” she said.

The woman lamented the fact that most textile firms in Matsapha were not hiring everybody. “Working in those firms is not a secure job because you can get fired just after three months. At least, supermarkets are better in terms of job security as long as you focus on what you were hired to do, not stealing,” she said.  Boxer Regional Manager Jeremiah Mkhonta was contacted on this issue but he referred such inquiries to his Director, Jason McCall.

“Unfortunately, I have no authority to discuss such issues in the media. Please kindly call my director to get proper response on what you are asking me about,” he briefly stated. McCall, when asked to shed light on the issue, assured that the delay is worked on by Boxer and the relevant organisations involved, as hastily as possible. He thanked Matsapha residents and shoppers for their patience over the delayed opening of their superstore in Matsapha.

“We look forward to providing feedback on the matter as soon as possible. Please note that Boxer is dedicated to serving communities across Eswatini, and as soon as official news regarding Matsapha is available, the press will be notified,” he said.  

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