By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Following an earlier announcement that there was likely to be a countrywide shortage of fizzy drinks this festive season, consumers can now rest assured they will still have their favourite drinks during Christmas. Yesterday, the Managing Director of Namibia Beverages, Frik Oosthuizen, informed New Era that his office managed to secure enough carbon dioxide to allow unhindered production of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite. However, he could not state with certainty whether there would be enough gas to ensure the nation receives enough supplies after Christmas. “We have enough to secure production till Christmas,” he said. Although this might sound like a relief for fizzy drink lovers, towns such as Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Oshakati, which usually have an influx of holiday-makers, might face a severe shortage as Namibia Beverages was unable to stockpile supplies to ensure uninterrupted supply. Usually, the company sends stock to these areas during October and November but, due to this problem, it has not been able to do so. “We have a lot of questions from our dealers, but we cannot produce enough this month,” he said. Yesterday, the company started with production for Christmas, but currently there is nothing in the warehouse, the managing director added. Some shops still have fizzy drinks sold on special. Oosthuizen says this has to be done, as deals or agreements with regard to these drinks being sold at a cheaper price were signed about five months ago. He reiterated that it is still unclear when the next carbon dioxide supply will be. He said Namibia Beverages is lucky, as some firms in South Africa are reported to have closed due to the problem. Roughly a month ago, South Africa’s major supplier of carbon dioxide – Afrox – started experiencing production problems at its Sasolburg and PetroSA plants. Consumers were warned that with the festive season just around the corner when demand picks up, there could be a shortage of brands such as Fanta, Pine, Fanta Grape, Sprite Zero and Tab, among others. At the time, Namibia Beverages had only started producing the three popular brands, Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite. The supply of fizzy drinks is expected to return to normal only in January next year. Meanwhile, retail shops in Windhoek trading in fizzy drinks remain in limbo over the recently-announced carbon dioxide shortage which has inevitably affected the full supply of these beverages in the country. There will in all probability be a severe shortage of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite in the country and the southern Africa region after Christmas, according to experts in the industry.
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