Smuggling now rife at Beitbridge as food imports ban hurts Musina businesses

Smuggling now rife at Beitbridge as food imports ban hurts Musina businesses

BUSINESSES  in  the border town of  Musina have remain closed  as trader organisations continue with a stay away in protest against the Zimbabwe government’s decision to ban basic food imports into the country from South Africa,  more cross border traders were relying on smugglers to get their goods across the Limpopo River.

The International Cross-Border Traders Association (ICTBT) and Musina Business Forum on Wednesday say some  frustrated traders are now smuggling goods into Zimbabwe, as authorities confiscate goods.

“The importers are already using illegal port of entries [that are]ungazetted to take their goods into Zimbabwe which is not good for the economy of that country, and which is not good also for their safety,” says ICTBT president Dennis Jeru.

Musina Business Forum’s Richard Makwaseni,  describes the situation as an economic and human catastrophe.

“There is a crisis now, because criminal activities are at play, they opened [their]own border to take goods on the other side because of this issue,” Makwaseni  claiming people had been killed while trying to smuggle goods across the border.

“There is a crisis now, because criminal activities are at play, they opened [their]own border to take goods on the other side because of this,” Makwaseni said.

Meanwhile nvestors now face a bleak future as shops in Musina remain deserted because fewer Zimbabweans were buying goods since the ban Musina’s dream of becoming a major city was falling apart, observed Makwaseni.

“As we speak now, shops are closed and workers were forced return home because of the situation in Zimbabwe and because we were busy building a big mall that was implemented with Zimbabweans in plans,” said Makwaseni.

He said the South African government had to intervene as the decision to ban basic food was also in contravention of the government’s bilateral agreement with Zimbabwe.

Taxi operators said the number of commuters between Beitbridge and Gauteng has dropped drastically.

“We used to release more than six taxis per day, now there are no taxis leaving – it is very bad,” said long distance taxi driver Promise Ndou.

Jeru said his association had written to the South African Development Community pleading for intervention in order to end the developing crisis. – ANA

 

 

 

 

. – ANA