Saturday, 2 July 2016

AFTER YESTERDAY'S PROTESTS

It was quiet at the Beitbridge border post on Saturday following a protest that shut down the post for five hours on Friday‚ police confirmed.

A group of South African traders blockaded the border post following a clampdown on trade with South African businesses by the Zimbabwean authorities.

“There have been no incidents since yesterday afternoon. It’s quiet there‚” said Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto.

She added that police were nevertheless keeping a watchful eye in case of any further flare-ups.

The South African Revenue Service said Friday’s protest blockade ran between 9am and 1pm and brought traffic to a halt.

SARS spokesman Sandile Memela said the matter had been resolved when SARS‚ the South African Police Service and Department of Home Affairs officials held negotiations with the leaders of the group.

"The meeting agreed that the grievances of the South African traders will be presented to the Department of Trade & Industry to take up the matter with Zimbabwean authorities.

"SARS wishes to commend South African officials for the speedy resolution of the matter that was occasioned by the attitude of the Zimbabwean authorities."

The situation on the Zimbabwean side of the border however remains tense.

The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported that Zimbabwean police and the country’s army had been deployed in full force in the border town of Beitbridge which has been hit by violent protests over the government’s decision to limit imports from South Africa.

ZBC reported that a warehouse in Beitbridge owned by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) had been burnt on Friday as protests over the ban on imports continued.

“Three people have since been arrested‚ with the police and army now in full force in the town.

“Shops were closed for the better part of today as residents protested against the ban on imports‚” the state broadcaster said.

The Zimbabwean government says the limit on imports is aimed at boosting the country’s economy.

Goods are cheaper in South Africa than in Zimbabwe.

Those wanting to bring in even basic goods like peanut butter‚ jam‚ body lotion and shoe polish have to apparently get a permit to do so. They're being threatened with a hefty fine if they arrive at the border with any of these goods but without a permit.

 

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