Beitbridge blockade flops

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A bid to block commercial traffic from entering or leaving Zimbabwe via Beitbridge Border Post failed dismally yesterday after the organisers of the planned demo never managed to get support.

There was a hype in South Africa in the last two weeks with several pressure groups claiming to be representing “Zimbabweans”, threating to bring business to a standstill.

It is understood that the said demonstration and blockade was plan B for those who failed to organise a similar project last month. Sources in South Africa yesterday said the streets were clean with authorities there enforcing lockdown protocols.

Nobody showed up at selected pick-up points in Johannesburg where people were supposed to be bused on Sunday evening to Beitbridge.

“We went about business at the border without any crowd trouble. It is business as usual and the police are busy on the ground enforcing level 2 lockdown regulations,” said a border official.

On the Zimbabwean border, it was also business as usual with no untoward incidents recorded. Another border official said commercial trucks were moving uninterrupted on both sides of the border.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Herald last night that: “Zimbabwe and the border remained peaceful throughout the day. We encourage people to live by the laws of the land and peacefully.”

Police spokesperson for Limpopo Province in South Africa, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo was not available for comment yesterday. According to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), the border post contributes in excess of 31 percent of the total customs revenues with over $150 million is collected at the border every week.

Revenues generated through Beitbridge have been growing steadily since May 2020, after having dropped in late March to end of April due to lockdown regulations in both countries.

An average of 1 000 commercial trucks use Beitbridge border daily and the organisers of yesterday’s demo had planned to block cargo movement. Last year, another attempt to close the border by the Congress of South African Trade Unions hit a brick wall after their request to protest inside the border area was turned down by security authorities from both countries.

In April 2018, the International Cross Border Traders’ Association failed to block the border after the organisers of the event found zero support at the eleventh hour.–

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