Zimbabweans protesting against restrictions on imports of basic goods from South Africa have forced the closure of the border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa on Friday.
On June 17, the Zimbabwean government said that it was suspending imports of products including bottled water, furniture, building materials, steel products, cereals, potato crisps and dairy products, most of which arrive from South Africa. A Statutory Instrument No. 64 of 2016 which effectively tightens the screws on the import of these products is purportedly intended to target businesses and not ordinary travellers buying goods for personal consumption. However, Zimbabwean Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officials continued to demand permits and confiscate the listed goods, sparking the chaos.
A warehouse owned by ZIMRA for the storing of illicit goods seized from people crossing the border was set alight by the protesters on Friday, 1 July 2016.
More than 85% of working age Zimbabweans have no formal job and many make a living by buying goods in South Africa to sell in Zimbabwe. Source: New Zimbabwean/ Reuters.