Traders welcome SA border opening

Cross border traders have welcomed the impending reopening of the Beitbridge border post saying it will bring relief to the sector which was heavily affected by the closure of the border to curb the spread of Covid-19.

South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that the neighbouring country will be moving Level One of the lockdown on October 1 which will see a resumption of cross border traffic through the Beitbridge border, the busiest road border post in Southern Africa.

However, one of the entry requirements is that traders have to produce Covid-19 negative certificates with the test result in the last 72 hours.

In separate interviews with CITE, some of the traders called on the government to establish affordable testing facilities at the border post enable them to get tested.

“We are so happy that borders will be opened soon but we are now appealing for accessible and affordable centres for Covid-19 testing since they now want proof of Covid-19 certificate,” said Pretty Mpofu.

“Even if we will be paying in these centres, we want them to be affordable for most women so that we can be able to get these certificates faster and be able to resume our business earlier as women.”

She said the opening of the border will give them an opportunity to buy their goods in person instead of relying on middlemen who were charging them exorbitant runner fees.

“We are happy because we will be able to resume our business and our lives will go back to normal even though we no longer have money to hoard but it won’t be the same as the system we were now using of cargo trucks which were expensive for most of us at times our goods got lost while in transit and we were no longer making profits,” she said.

Debra Mukasa called on the government to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with loans so they can be able to resume their operations.  

This was buttressed by Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) director Michael Ndiweni who said there is a need to support and fund women in cross border business as most of them no longer have the funds to resume their business as their savings were diverted to taking care of their families.

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