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SA customs officials strike: Commercial cargo movement improves

by Staff reporter
27 Jul 2022 at 14:36hrs | Views
The movement of commercial cargo between Zimbabwe and South Africa has gradually improved after some customs officials from the neighbouring country who have been on strike over a pay increase returned to work at the weekend.

However, the larger number is still on strike.

Customs and revenue officials employed by the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) went on a strike a week ago demanding a 12 percent salary raise.

Their employer has proposed to increase the remuneration by 1, 7 percent resulting in the extended job action.

Long queues of both south and north-bound commercial haulage trucks had become common in the last few days.

The N1 and the Beitbridge Masvingo road had become an eye sore with the truckers taking over the roads.

As of Wednesday morning, there were fewer commercial trucks on the major roads with most having left for their destinations at the weekend.

In a statement recently, SARS said it had the situation under control.

"We would like to assure traders and travellers that we have put various contingency measures in place at land border posts to ensure minimal disruption during the current industrial action at SARS," said the revenue collector.

"SARS will ensure that the following capabilities remain available throughout the duration of the industrial action: the processing of declarations will continue as normal; physical inspections of goods will continue as normal, with inspection finalisation being centralised and managed on a 24-hour basis.

In addition to that, trade has been engaged about temporary measures instituted in relation to the authorisation and management of SADC certificates of origin for cargo transported across land borders".

SARS said border operations will proceed as normal with the available staff supported by a number of officials deployed from its Head Office and other less busy regions.

The revenue authority also encouraged their clients to make use of alternative ports should a need arise.

"SARS endeavours to keep trade informed on any contingency planning relating to the strike and in order to ensure a seamless flow of trade.

"Please visit our website regularly for updates on any SARS branches or border posts that may be closed," said the authority.

At its peak, the Beitbridge border post clears between 900 and 1200 trucks per day.

The Beitbridge Port of Entry links South Africa to other Sadc countries including Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, DRC, Tanzania, and Angola.

A Zimbabwean border official said yesterday that they cleared most of the vehicles during the weekend.

"We have noted some improvement in the clearance of both south and northbound cargo.

"However, we are yet to get an official update from the South Africans on the state of affairs regarding the strike by SARS officials," said the official.

Source - The Herald