Zimra Regional Manager Innocent Chikuni
Beitbridge – Residents of the border town of Beitbridge have run out of food and this is causing unprecedented smuggling of goods and foodstuffs through illegal points, a local councilor and chairman of the Beitbridge Crossborder Transporters Association has said.
Councillor Takavingei Mahachi said this in a letter to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) regional manager Innocent Chikuni today in which he appealed for relaxed opening times of the border to allow foodstuffs and other basic commodities to cross from South Africa and avert starvation in the country’s biggest border town.
He urged Zimra to open the border on certain days so that trucks can bring food to the town. He said complete shutdown of the border to the locals has seen heightened smuggling resulting in the importation of the Covid-19 virus through illegal entry points.
Mahachi said that the food situation in the town was going to get worse following President Mnangagwa’s latest extension of the lockdown.
Chikuni referred The Mirror to Zimra head office for comments.
Zimbabwe is depended on South Africa for most of its processed food requirements and the situation is worse for the border town.
Mahachi also said that Government was losing a lot of revenue through the smuggling.
“Following the pronouncements by His Excellency President Mnangagwa on the extension of the lockdown to an indefinite period, it has become evident that due to escalated levels of smuggling the community is running out of affordable basic commodities and resorts to smuggling using ungazetted points of entry,” said Mahachi in his letter.
He appealed that negotiations be made with South Africa so that certain trucks and certain times are designated for the ferrying of goods across the border.