Beitbridge Border Closed by Protesting Omalayitsha

BY REX MPHISA

PROTESTING crossborder private courier service providers commonly called  oMalayitsha on Saturday completely blocked traffic between Zimbabwe and South Africa in protest.

The action is against a directive by Customs and Excise officials who send them back to SA because the border is still closed to private vehicles.

All vehicles were stuck after oMalayitsha used their trailer towing vehicles to barricade the bridge rendering it ompassible to motor traffic.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority offcials at Beitbridge were not answering their phones when comment was sought.

An immigration official speaking on condition of anonymity however confirmed the situation was chaotic.

“There has been a disagreement between Omalayitsha and Customs and Excise management who refused oMalayitsha entry allegedly because the border is not yet open to the public,” said the official.

“OMalayitsha reacted and blocked the bridge and traffic is stuck on the bridge unable to move back or front,” he said.

Zimbabwe is yet to open its land borders to the general public although commercial traffic has passed throughout the COVID 19 international lockdown.

“There is chaos to say the least. Its a total mess, nothing is moving. Drivers are caught in between,” said a policeman stationed in the border.

This is not the first time oMalayitsha have protested in this manner after being sent back to SA.

Earlier this year Zimbabwe National Army officers deployed for an operation against smuggling intervened and drove back oMalayitsha after a similar reaction when they were refused entry.

Zimbabweans hoped the border would be open for festive holidays when most people shop in SA while thousands of SA based Zimbabweans troop home crossing legally or otherwise.

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