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Residents protest bond note snub

01 Jul 2020 at 07:26hrs | Views
Mpopoma residents demonstrate at Mahomva shopping centre against the rejection of bond notes by general dealer shops on Monday

DISGRUNTLED residents of Mpopoma high-density suburb in Bulawayo on Monday staged a demonstration at Mahomva shopping centre over the rejection of bond notes by retailers.

Informal traders, some wholesalers and retail outlets across the country have been rejecting coins, $2 and $5 notes preferring the new $10 and $20 or foreign currency as the local currency continues to plunge against the greenback

Residents picketed at the shopping centre carrying placards inscribed "Bond notes are legal tender", among others.

"We demand proper services as residents. When I come here to buy goods as a member of the community using current currency of bond, you reject what do you want us to do as a community? This is the money that we get from banks and you reject it. If we come with $10 to buy something for $6 bond you give us $4 change but you are rejecting it when we use it to buy from your shops," said one of the protestors.

"You are shortchanging us. You are here because of us, if we do not buy will you survive? We are assisting you to grow your business and you also need to supply us with what we want. All these people you see get paid in bond notes, but you reject them, why? When the mealie-meal is delivered we see Honda Fit cars coming to collect it for the black market, leaving us hungry. It's unacceptable!"

Residents threatened to boycott the shops until the traders were willing to meet them halfway.

One of the protestors, human rights activist Khumbulani Maphosa yesterday told Southern Eye that traders eventually agreed to accept all bond notes.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) official Thembelani Dube said residents had the right to reject paying for goods and services in forex.

"The demonstration sends a good message not only to Mpopoma businesses but to all like Tasha's in ward 14 in Lobengula who have become an albatross to poor residents by demanding forex, knowing very well they are earning the Zimbabwe dollar/ bond," Dube said.

"As BPRA we urge the government to protect the vulnerable poor communities. It is worrying to note that businesses owned by government ministers also demand forex."

Industry and Commerce deputy minister Raji Modi's shops in Bulawayo are charging goods in forex.

National Consumer Rights Association (Nacora) co-ordinator Effie Ncube said the consumers and businesses did not have confidence in the local currency.

"The protests that we are seeing are not just the demonstration of displeasure over the loss of value but also an attempt by government to continue to force people to accept the currency," Ncube said.

Ncube called for dialogue between government, business and consumers to resolve the currency issue.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi recently urged the public to report any person, trader or institution rejecting local money.

He said police had so far arrested seven suspects in Harare and they were expected to appear in court soon.

Source - newsday
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