Palapye resident Ethel Gampone is waiting with bated breath for the fate of her Nandos Franchise rumoured to be among the leading money spinners in the country.
Gampone’s case against the Khan family and Nandos holdings of South Africa continued last week.
While the main case is set to continue on June 30 Justice Dingake still has to deliver a judgement as to whether Nandos Holdings’ legal documents are struck off, this after Gampone’s lawyer Dutch Leburu applied for the ruling which would technically leave Nandos giants defenseless.
For now Gampone operates her Nandos restaurant by a temporary court order while she awaits judgment day that would bring to an end months of torture of legal wrangling with the powerful Khan family and Nandos franchise holders.
The legal wrangling follows the decision last year by Nandos Holdings to terminate Gampone’s license and to pass it on to the Khan family.
The court case has put into focus the fate of the small business people, and how organised big operations are swallowing up local operators.
This has become real especially in developing towns such as Palapye, where more and more small Batswana business people are forced into selling or relinquishing power to dominant owners, such as the Khan family, which today controls all the Nandos market in the country.
Gaompone has held the Nandos licence since 2001. Then, she was the only citizen to benefit from the Nandos franchise. Gaompone’s legal battle may just be a fight for citizen empowerment.
The Nandos restaurants in Botswana are the preserve of the Khan family, who hold the franchise for the Botswana region after
Those close to Gaompone say when she first applied for the franchise in Palapye, the possibility of its success was something not foreseen by the franchise holders.
Today’s Palapye is a totally different town from the one that existed back in 2001. The BIUST University is now in town. Morupule power station continues to expand into Morupule B, and Morupule C, a coal wash plant has also employed more people, and Palapye has become a sub-district headquarter. The town is now a desirable market for trendy additions such as Nandos.
The Palapye Nandos is said to have grown to become a million Pula spinner.
The fact that the fast food outlet is in a busy shopping centre along the A1 road stopover – a stop-over for travellers connecting from the north and south of the country – must be the envy of any serious business person.
Since clinching the cash cow that is Palapye Nandos, Gaompone has since opened two filling stations in Palapye and Mahalapye.
She is the proud owner of the Engine filling station in Palapye that was opened in 2003 and the Mahalapye Filling station that followed in 2007.
In her court documents against Nandos, the Palapye woman argues that when she first applied for the franchise she did not request for a temporary license, she had her eyes on the long term – into the future.