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oMalayitsha call on Government to provide special permits

by Staff reporter
25 May 2020 at 16:16hrs | Views
CROSS border transporters popularly known as oMalayitsha have called on Government to assist them with special permits which will ensure smooth passage of their goods into the country to enable them to transport food to vulnerable families in the country on time.

The Malayitsha trade has been in existence for over two decades servicing mostly Matabeleland.

For many years oMalayitsha have been a vital cog in ensuring that goods from neighbouring countries especially South Africa and Botswana reach intended families who rely on their diaspora relatives for survival.

Many families in Zimbabwe, especially the southern region, have long relied on supplementary essentials sent by their relatives who reside in neighbouring South Africa have known no other way of getting their goods into the country other than omalayitsha.

As important as this service has been, it has been threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced countries to impose strict restrictions on borders.

The trade is facing extinction and Omalayitsha have tried to be innovative and resorted to using haulage trucks to get their goods into the country.

Bus companies and truckers are slowly taking over the business but beneficiaries complain that they charge significantly more and lack the personal touch like door to door deliveries.

However, these efforts have hit a snag as their trucks spend even up to two weeks at Beitbridge Border Post before being cleared and perishables would have gone bad.

Additionally, the goods are charged commercial rates on duty, although they are mostly groceries.

George Phiri, who has been an uMalayitsha since the 90s, said the delays are posing a threat to their business as they are forced to pass costs to customers.

He called on Government to assist them as they offer essential services to vulnerable families in Zimbabwe including the elderly and the poor.

"Our work is very important. We provide a service to vulnerable communities who rely on us to bring their goods from breadwinners in South Africa and Botswana. We are appealing to Government to assist us get permits that will allow us to process our goods swiftly," said Mr Phiri.

He added that the setback is threatening several jobs created by the transporters saying his own employs over 50 people and their livelihoods and those of their families are at risk if no long lasting solution is provided soon.

Another Malayitsha, Orishias Moyo said they risk being pushed out of business for good by big transport companies which have come into the business and have started advertising their services.

He said this creates an unfair competing ground for them as they do not have the financial muscle to deal with costs that come with delays at the border.

He added that as transporters they are ready for necessary searches and requirements which will guard against any criminals who might want to take advantage of their proposed special permits.

"Big companies like bus companies have already started advertising their services, which were previously offered by us. If the situation remains like this we are likely to be squeezed out of business."

"What we are saying is we are ready to comply with any searches that Zimra might propose because this will help us expose criminals who might want to take advantage.

The chronicle also caught up with families that have been using Omalayitsha's services and they said the glitch is being felt in their homes as they are now unable to receive goods from breadwinners.

67-year-old Mrs Nonhlanhla Mpofu from Bulawayo's Emakhandeni suburb said she has been dependent on omalayitsha for over 12 years adding that their being out of business has affected her immensely.

"I have had my goods brought to me by them since 2008. I'm unemployed and my son who works in south Africa has been taking care of me through omalayitsa.

Sending groceries and all essentials to me every two weeks," said Mrs Mpofu.

She said Omalayitsha must be allowed to operate as usual as many families would starve.

Omalayitsha have always been the preferred choice as many people find their services affordable compared to other courier service providers.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Head of Corporate Communications Mr Francis Chimanda said there was no special permits for transportation of goods by Omalayitsha.

He said for the clearance of goods to be quick omalayitsha must follow the law.

"They are required by law to submit manifests containing goods, quantities and the names of the individual importers 3 hours before arrival at the border. The manifests must be accompanied by a schedule showing individual names of importers, their goods, quantities and values for duties to be calculated and paid before their arrival. They should make use of agents to do the clearance for them. The goods must be properly declared for the process to be speeded up," said Mr Chimanda.

Source - chronicle

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