Border post calm following protests
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