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SA protests to push Zimbabwe prices high

by Staff reporter
18 Jul 2021 at 08:00hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE could see a spike in prices of imported goods as hundreds of containers with goods destined for the country were stuck along routes and at warehouses in South Africa following last week's protests in the neighbouring country that resulted in burning of and blocking of key infrastructure in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Industrialists argue that the country imports around 60 percent of its raw materials from South Africa, Europe comes second at 13 percent, China at 11 percent and the rest standing at 15 percent. Even the figure of imports from South Africa stands at 60 percent, all the other imports also transit though the country making it virtually the route of both imports exports for the country.

Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) chief executive officer Mr Joseph Musariri told Sunday Business that although they have not quantified the amount of goods that were destined for Zimbabwe that were destroyed in the mayhem, it was obvious that prices of the affected goods will go up as even those that were not destroyed were stuck in the neighbouring country attracting extra charges.

"For containers that are stuck in Durban there are additional storage and demurrage charges being incurred. The extra costs will be passed on to the consumer and therefore, the cost of the goods will go up," he said.

Apart from the goods that are stuck in South Africa, Mr Musariri said the disturbances also hit Zimbabwe exports after companies withheld their goods fearing they could be destroyed by the demonstrators.

"The events happening in South Africa are not good for our business and economy. The riots must stop immediately in order to avoid further harm."

He, however, said the events also reignited the debate on the need for the region to stop relying on South Africa and its ports for trade.

"We need to reduce reliance on South Africa and its ports. We need to start focusing on Beira, Maputo (Mozambique), Walvis Bay (Namibia) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania). There is a need for other Sadc countries to co-operate in this respect. The coming in of the Continental Free Trade Area should see us diversifying our markets so that we can reduce the current over-reliance on South Africa."

During the peak of the protests last week, it was reported that dozens of truck drivers were stuck in long queues at the Beitbridge Border Post outside Musina in Limpopo as they were not sure whether to proceed with their journeys in fear of the protests.

The protests that resulted in the torching of trucks and looting of warehouses and shopping malls started after the arrest of South Africa's former President, Jacob Zuma. South Africa lost goods and services estimated to be running into billion of rands. However, the authorities have managed to quell the looting.

Source - sundaynews