Bor­der post calm fol­low­ing protests

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THE BEIT Bridge port of en­try was calm after South African traders held a protest against new mea­sures by the Zim­bab­wean gov­ern­ment lim­it­ing the im­port of goods from South Africa.

There was a five-hour block­ade from 9am to 1pm yes­ter­day that brought traf­fic to a halt, said SA Rev­enue Ser­vice spokesman Sandile Memela.

Lim­popo po­lice spokes­woman Colonel Ronel Otto said the protest had been peace­ful.

“It was non-vi­o­lent protests ear­lier, no tyres were burnt or prop­erty dam­aged in front of the port of en­try. The com­mu­nity and busi­ness own­ers were un­happy about new trade reg­u­la­tions. Po­lice mon­i­tored the sit­u­a­tion, and pro­test­ers dis­persed peace­fully. The port of en­try is open,” she said.

Mama Taxi The com­mu­nity reg­u­la­tions

The protest came after Zim­bab­wean In­dus­try and Com­merce min­is­ter Mike Bimha an­nounced a new pol­icy lim­it­ing the im­port of ba­sic goods, mainly from South Africa.

The pro­test­ers dis­persed after ne­go­ti­a­tions with of­fi­cials from Sars, the po­lice and the de­part­ment of Home Af­fairs.

The meet­ing agreed the griev­ances of South African traders would be pre­sented to the De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try to take up the mat­ter with Zim­bab­wean au­thor­i­ties, Memela said in a state­ment last night.

The re­stric­tion kicked in yes­ter­day. Au­thor­i­ties said the new mea­sures were aimed at pro­tect­ing lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers who were fac­ing stiff com­pe­ti­tion from im­ported goods.

With a high un­em­ploy­ment rate and a strug­gling econ­omy, most Zim­bab­wean traders rely on im­port­ing prod­ucts from South Africa.

The af­fected im­ports ranged from hair ex­ten­sions, peanut but­ter and yo­ghurt, to doors and win­dow frames. Spe­cial per­mits were re­quired in or­der to im­port tar­geted goods. – ANA

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