MORE than three million cross-border traders will breathe a sigh of relief after the Cross-border Traders Association managed to lure various South African businesses to sell their products at Beitbridge Border Post in order to mitigate the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on the country’s economy.
The Cross-border Traders’ Association chairperson Killer Zivhu told the media in Harare yesterday that there was no need to travel to South Africa to buy goods for their businesses.
“We are opening a people’s shop at Beitbridge starting next week. We have engaged various South African businesspeople who have agreed to come with their goods at Beitbridge. This will enable all cross-border traders to buy commodities at the border.
“They will get these goods at the same price they were getting them in South Africa and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no need for all cross-border traders to travel to South Africa. We have more than three million cross-borders in Zimbabwe who are going to benefit from this development. There is no need to travel to Messina or Johannesburg anymore,” Zivhu said.
He said currently many people have nothing to do due to the obtaining lockdown.
“Most people want to pay school fees and half of the parents who pay school fees are cross-borders. This move will enable people to re-start their businesses.
“People are suffering … so we want to help our government during this difficult time of Covid-19. We are negotiating with the government so that they can provide Zupco buses to transport traders from different places.”
He added that the government must assist cross-borders with funds to re-open their businesses.
“Most people are being raped and killed while they are trying to cross borders through illegal entry points during this lockdown and most of them will not be tested. So, this is another way of dealing with the spread of the disease.
“We are saying people are going to be tested by private companies regularly. Cross-borders must first register like what the government said and after that they must come to us.
“However, we can also facilitate their registration. We urge the government to provide funds for cross-borders through the SME facility which they announced recently. We are also calling upon all people with free funds to come forward,” Zivhu said.
This comes as the government has promised to avail funding to cushion informal and small-scale enterprises that have not been spared by the global pandemic.