Friday, 1 July 2016

Operations disrupted by protest at Beitbridge border post

Operations and traffic at the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe were disrupted for hours on Friday as South African business owners and ordinary Zimbabwean traders were picketing.

They were protesting against trade laws in Zimbabwe that limit the import of basic goods from South Africa. The laws are aimed at increasing foreign currency and stimulating local industries in Zimbabwe.

Pandemonium broke out at the main entrance of the border post on Friday.

Hundreds of business owners, including taxi operators and ordinary informal traders who commute daily between the two countries, were picketing against the new trade laws in Zimbabwe.
Operations disrupted by protest at Beitbridge border post
Some shops in Musina were also closed as their owners were also taking part in the picket. They say the ban which came into effect on Friday will kill their businesses.

A representative of a Zimbabwean a civil society movement says the new Zimbabwean trade law will negatively affect ordinary Zimbabweans.

Dennis Juru from Tajamuka organisation says government wants to monopolise the import of basic goods from South Africa.

“Tajamuka is an organisation which is fighting corruption in Zimbabwe which is fighting everything which is very bad like what they are doing today they want to monopolise the importation of goods. They want to give to the ministers and stop millions of people who are crossing the border into South Africa and give the contract to one person; we want to bring back the original trade between South Africa and Zimbabwe.”

Ordinary Zimbabweans who often buy groceries from South Africa daily say buying grocery and other goods back home is expensive as the country trades in US dollar.

“It is affecting the whole population in Zimbabwe because most of the people are working here in South Africa. They buy their stuff in South Africa to that site. They used to take cooking oil, flour and chicken pieces. It is very expensive especially my pay rate is equivalent in buying in SA not buying in Zimbabwe.”

Operations resumed four hours later after public order police negotiated with the protestors to disperse, and not to block the N1 and the border.

Border authorities were not immediately available to comment.

The Zimbabwean government has indicated that those who want to import the banned goods should apply for a permit and indicate why they need to import such goods.