UPDATED:Violent scenes rock Beitbridge…Zimra warehouse burnt…Hoodlums block roads

The demonstrators have blocked Beitbridge border post in protest of the implementation of statutory instrument number 64 of 2016. - Pic Thupeyo Muleya

The demonstrators have blocked Beitbridge border post
in protest of the implementation of statutory instrument number 64 of
2016. – Pic Thupeyo Muleya

Herald Reporters
A mob torched a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) warehouse containing seized goods and over 40 vehicles worth hundreds of thousands of dollars as demonstrations against the implementation of Statutory Instrument No. 64 of 2016 continued at the Beitbridge Border Post last night.

The demonstrations saw travellers from various parts of the country cancelling their trips to South Africa while some bus operators in Harare refunded passengers.

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The SI tightens screws on the import of basic commodities including food items, building materials, furniture, toiletries and cooking oil among other things.

0107-1-1-IMG-20160701-WA0034This comes as Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha told The Herald yesterday on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce congress in Victoria Falls that the instrument was targeted at businesses and did not affect ordinary travellers buying goods for personal consumption.

However, Zimra officials continued to demand permits and confiscate the listed products from individuals, sparking the chaos.

The demonstrators also threatened to burn down Manica Transit Shed where Zimra processes vehicle imports and the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) hotel.

0107-1-1-BEITBRIDGE-3A Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation news crew was attacked by the mob while covering the demonstrations.

The protesters, who call themselves Combined Residents Association, also destroyed a house where one member of the neighbourhood watch committee identified as “MaSpeed” lives.

They accused him of unleashing a reign of terror at the border post.

There were running battles between the police and the demonstrators for the better part of yesterday.

0107-1-1-ZIMRA-WAREHOUSE-BURNTRoads were blocked with stones around the town and tyres were burnt along major roads.

Shops in the border town closed at around 2pm for fear of looting while those around Mashakada Business Centre and Engen Service Station and traffic lights were also vandalised.

The implementation of the new import regulations has been met with fierce resistance by travellers and ordinary importers who twice protested at Beitbridge Border Post.

Zimra gave in to pressure and suspended rolling out the new regime.

Commercial cargo had been stuck on Beitbridge Border Post (South African side) for seven days as importers struggled to get permits authorising them to import the restricted goods.

Said Minister Bimha: “Anyone who travels, you bring one, two or three items, that’s not the issue. The issue is to control certain products that we produce. The target is really more on our industry. We still have people who go out and bring things that we make here. That’s not an issue. But where people bring in things in large quantities for re-selling, the effect is that it affects our industry. There are job losses, there is no employment, there are no goods and services that can then go into the market.

“That’s the kind of thing we are talking about. Not you and I, who come with two bags of maize meal, that is allowed,” he said.

Minister Bimha said Government was open to considering applications from businesses that wanted to import some of the specified goods as long as they justified the action.

He said the protests that were happening at Beitbridge Border Post were regrettable but urged travellers to approach relevant authorities instead resorting to protests.

There were reports that South Africa briefly closed its door yesterday due to the protests while social media messages reported that Pretoria had banned Zimbabwean products from being imported into that country.

But Minister Bimha said Government always engaged its neighbours on what it sought to achieve with the introduction of Statutory Instrument 64/2016 including South Africa whenever there were issues of concern between the two countries.

“We do have technical bilateral meetings between officials of government from South Africa and here. We also have bilateral meetings where we discuss with the Minister responsible for Trade and Industry on all trade matters.

“Time and again, there are issues and concerns from both sides and we do meet to try and resolve them. That is what we do on a bilateral level. We have also advised Sadc on the measures we have taken because we know they will affect some of our regional partners explaining why we are taking them.

“If there is any country where they have problems with that, they have every reason to engage us. We are open for engagement. We are doing this on the basis of what we think is right for our economy just like any country would actually look at its own interests first,” said Minister Bimha.

He said despite the SI, Government still appreciated and respected its bilateral arrangements and agreements.

Minister Bimha said it was, however, important for Sadc countries to appreciate the reasons behind the move considering that the country was coming from a hyper-inflationary environment and was suffering from the illegal sanctions imposed on it by the West.

He said South Africa had not officially engaged Zimbabwe over the SI indicating that there was no problem between the two countries.

It was not business as usual at the usually packed Roadport bus station to South Africa in Harare yesterday as travellers panicked, resulting in numerous cancellations and postponements of travel bookings to that country.

Most travellers said they feared the potentially violent demonstrations at the Zim/SA border, a situation which was worsened and dramatised by the images circulating on social media.

The South African component of the border was closed between 6 and 12 in the morning but later opened for traffic following negotiations between the police and the protestors.

Zimbabwe’s national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said they had contained the situation.

She said three people had been arrested for orchestrating public disorder in Beitbridge adding that they had deployed police officers to all strategic points.

“We have managed the situation and we want to strongly warn those involved on such activities that we will not tolerate lawlessness,” she said.

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  • Department 6

    basa ehurumende ekukaurisa vanhu.

  • Fred Moyo

    Chawagona hapana

  • fari

    good

  • Jonso

    ** Tell me how can we have people like Kasukuwere as a minister, and the like of chinamasa, made all these guys got nothing common sense to them is like a doctorate. Imbavha vanhu ava.** these are the people whom we have put trust in as our leaders kkkkkkkkkkkk seka hako. Zim is better off without a govt

    • Major Musango

      mumbling and rumbling ….. what exactly are you saying?

  • vladmir

    good thing its on the south African side. if it was in Zimbabwe we would deem them to have political agendas

    • IJaha le Manxeleni

      The warehouse which is in flames as we speak is on the Zimbabwean side baba. Political agenda ?no there is a silent revolution in progress and some of us in the diaspora are missing the action!!!

  • tsotso

    I blame the british

    • Accumulator

      No, blame your governments who are brain washing their citizens.

  • Harare

    i judge Mugabe by the caliber of people he appoints ministers , kasukuwere and chinamasa are the biggest JOKES EVER, when you have erred Cde President its OK to admit an err in judgement and fire the 2 clowns, they will only add misery and more dislikes to you and your organisation

    • Collin Mackenzie

      Our minister’s all a bunch of losers !

  • Thetruthshallcome

    This is what happens when some silly minister enacts regulations without wide consultation and the likely implications of such moves. I don’t really understand what the govt is trying to achieve by doing this. This means more poverty, more suffering of the ordinary people. Companies are closing down left right and centre and we still think we can have our own production. What will the investor say when he sees this? He will not risk his money into such a maladministration govt. Be gentle enough siyai mabasa muti takonewa pliz.

    • IJaha le Manxeleni

      What they want to achieve?. They want to inflict as much pain as possible on the population:roadblocks, cash shortages they don’t care bambo

  • Mosquito

    Thank you South Africa……
    We will carry the touch to state house.
    Zimboz were too afraid to start this

    • IJaha le Manxeleni

      But the truth is these are ZIMBABWEAN. Its a fable by the Herald to say South African businessmen are involved.Phone people at BB now

  • kutototo

    Chakachaya beit bridge

  • African Conservative

    Results of reactionary, short-sighted governance.. Zanu PF is always fighting fires.. There is no strategy and no focus.. They try to patch a metal pot with bits of dry grass… Please, we beg you.. Just step down. There is no dishonor in admitting defeat.. Why make your people suffer continually when you are well aware that you do not have the capacity to improve their lives?

  • Ini Handidi Nhamo

    But why would a govt of the people luxuriate in seeing its people suffer……

  • Tinashe WeZhira

    Hino ngoma yamunogaro ridza muchiti “hee tine hushamwari hwakasimba nevavakidzani vedu nekuti taipotera nekuchengetwa munguva yehondo…..bla bla”

    Pazvainge zvakaoma munyika medu tairaramiswa nechikafu chaibva Mesinna. Nhasi unofunga kuti zvakunakira wave kuvhara mwena unobuda neshwa…

    Zvemwe zvinhu itai muchiratidza kuti makaita tsvagiridzo yakakwana.

    Muno tisekesa

  • Grace Jones

    If cremora wants the zimbabwean market Cremora must open a cremora factory in zimbabwe. advantages
    1 zimbabwe jobs
    2 zimbabwe taxes.
    If cremora thinks the zimbabwe market is worth forgoing, it can find market elsewhere. Simple. Its called jobs for zimbabweans and taxes for zimbabwe. Border ngarivharwe! Kutoisa masoja chaiko

    • Zimbabwe

      If you open in Zimbabwe you will have to surrender 51% of the equity in your company to Zimbos heavyweights and make donations to the ruling party for you to live in Zimbabwe which donations ZIMRA will not allow you to deduct as tax deductions and if you try to argue your case you will be garnished by ZIMRA. You should bank your money and it will converted to bond notes by RBZ and for you to import raw materials and equipment for retooling and servicing equipment you should get a license from RBZ and there is a long queue there. Corruption is also a reality in that Zimbabwe.

    • Collin Mackenzie

      What about border taxes and duties is that not money ?

    • Muchatuta

      …and you want Kasukuwere to get 51% in Cremora without investing a dime!

    • Trevor Gumbo

      Sick sick sick

  • Dr Bush

    Of course South Africans will protest over such a move because their industries are booming and dumping their cheap imports onto to our side. This Statutory Instrument is way to go for Zim and the government must stick to its decision. Trinkets into Zimbabwe, why not open that cheap trinket factory in Zimbabwe? Import candles seriously?

  • Collin Mackenzie

    Zimbabwe is closed for business because of selfish greedy and in human Zimira

    Next Zimira shall regulate the blood that people with families and friends dying in hospital’s, cross the boarder into Zambia to buy blood for 50c and in Zimbabwe it costs 200 usd.

    We had drought and Now we have Zimira and now I know why we are is this situation we are in today.

    Shut up.

  • Collin Mackenzie

    Totally agree

  • Engineer

    This government is playing with fire.I hope this is the beginning of the end of their reign

  • Jeffrey Kangara

    i think this just goes a little personal, A colonialist ruling in africa, a shaka making his way of life in africa, and least we forget achimwene making his way of life kar(l)angaland. there is systematic pattern here. till zim goes hungry, we will never ever have a future. just take a look at our presidium, possibly you will have a maximum of 1 rooted from munhumutapa. the mafia has big guns but they will never kill any of us when the time comes. till dzimbabgwe goes hungry, we will never be free. The painting is on the wall, lets go back pre-independence and you will notice its systematic, all elite indigenous cadres being wiped out.

  • Cecil Roars

    This time you are more dull than them. Poor people from.both countries depend on this trade and for your own information this last blander by Zimbabwean authorities is the beginning of our freedom.
    We shall start here where it shall be remembered as the battle of Beitbrifge till eceryone and every part of Zimbabwe is free from ZANU PF vermin. Never underestimate the power of the poor and the strength of the empty stomachs.

  • IJaha le Manxeleni

    Let us tell the truth as it is.These are thousands of Zimbabweans who make a living by selling products from South Africa. They can see their livelihoods being taken from them by a government that does not care anymore. Something has to give. It is not true that there are South African business people its our people who are fed up. I am sure Mpoko in his hotel and Mugabe where ever he is can see the suffering hope they will have a heart

  • zvihutazvashe

    Nerimwe zuva gava rakadambura musungo…

  • IJaha le Manxeleni

    Beitbridge implodes

  • Zakaman

    Beitbridge mean business. Not those people stealing cellphones from each other saying Dzamara this Dzamara that. Get some real action. The only thing Mugabe understands is war like…..like war veterans. Are you bound by a moribund? Harare must rise.

  • Accumulator

    Let people demonstrate against this rubbish government.
    They got the rights to do that

  • Collin Mackenzie

    Today I have just realised, that being patriotic and loyal does not pay the bills.
    I’m really gutted.
    I totally cannot understand why this bloody fool of a minister would waste time and money with such a law that takes us back to those dark days.
    Cry my beloved Country,I see riots in SA and burning buildings and never ever thought that I will ever see this in Zimbabwe.

  • Trevor Gumbo

    The Zimbabwe industry is at zero production. People had let the government mess up the economy and pple s lives for too long this is the final straw that will break the camels back

  • munjanja max

    Import tariffs are dribbled past poita smuggling. Its better to ban. There is no way you can consume everything imported and expect to go back to work. A responsible govenment protects its borders. Have you ever tried to export to SA? Had this been implemented long ago most companies wouldnt be dead. But taikaura ne high prices plus poor quality though.

  • Mr p

    its only when the wrong ministers are appointed to do the job ,the right way but thy choose to do it the wrong way coz thy a taking advantage of the ruling party.if could be the president ,I could let this ministers to clean my shoes . Coz its what they can do best for de country

  • Mela

    shamwari ifpeople need to eat let them. there arent any jobs in zim or industries because of poor gvt policies.

  • Nqobile Kukunda Maringe

    O Nehanda Nyakasikana
    Kunozove riniko, isu tichitambura.
    Kunozove riniko, isu tichidzvinyirirwa.
    Kunozove riniko, isu tichitetereka nepasi rose.
    Kunozove riniko, vanhu vako vachinyangariswa
    Ko, inga taneta wani nukunwa misodzi
    Ko, toshiriria kudzamara riniko.

    Mhaka yedu yakakura sei, isingaripirwi
    Ronda redu radzika sei risingapori.
    Isu takaberekerwa munhamo, vana votobereka dzave harahwa munhamo.
    Hevo, vokura vakasunzumara munyika nyayo.
    Ko, isu rugare ruchatisvikira riniko

    Pfuma yenyika nhasi yotorwa nevashoma
    Vanogara makore mumahotera, isu tichirara mumabhasi, nemumisika kutsvaga chauviri.
    Vanogovana mapurazi, sekunge vayavepfumojena.
    Vanoburuka nedenge sekunge shiri.
    Nhasi Singapore, mangwana Malaysia
    Isu tichipanda pasi netsoka nezvigamba
    Vavo vana vanodzidza mhiri kwemakungwa
    Vavo vanoponera kunze kwenyika
    Isu tichikwangwaira nenhamo

    Vanoti vataure, ndivo vanorohwa, kushungurudzwa nekunyangariswa
    Dzamara riniko tichinyangariswa.
    Migwagwa yedu yese yazara vatotitorera mari, vachitisunga
    Tavevaranda munyika yamai
    Dambudziko guru, ndiro ratiwira.
    Toti titange musika, totorerwa simba redu
    Toti tiyambukire mhiri, votidzivirira
    Tofa here munyika munyika yechizvarigo

    Ishe, hamunzwiwo kuchema kwedu here?
    Taneta nokumwa misodzi, nhoko dzezvironda dzotiraramisa
    Tarirai vanodeura rope risina mhaka
    Vanouraya vanhu kunge sora resango.
    Todiiko, Todiiko, Todiiko, Tatambura maZimbo

  • zvihutazvashe

    Lawlessness is messing with ordinary people’s livelihood when you have nothing better to offer them, for your own information, Charity Charamba. Get it through your thick skull!! Stop with your empty threats already! Wadii wambozviisa mutsoka dzevanhu ava for a moment usati wangowadzuka kutaura…your time will come..you and your partisan excuse for a police force…

  • inini

    This Bimha boy and his matororo cronies have missed the basic principles of economics – free trade would tame the economy / employment by itself. Zimbabweans are crafty, the idea behind cross border trading may have, in many ways calmed things down in the country…. since many would be unemployed citizens (~90%?) create their own employment and take care of their families. Chocking this hole will steer more public unrest…justifiably so! A bit of thinking is needed always!

  • adv

    How dare u refer to a real life situation as being dramatized, that’s irresponsible brown envelope reporting, that explains y u don’t have the guts to acknowledge liability of your story by not stating your real names n Opting for the “herald reporters”as an identity tag. You so shameful. Tajamuka .
    The minister of trade is surely sick in the mind to have himself thinking that becoz his equal number in S.A. has not approached him about the S. I then it means S.A. is fine with it, multilateral n bilateral trade agreements that we n S.A. have signed would require the party that wishes to renege on them to approach the other innocent party n not the other way round as alleged by the clueless minister. Tajamuka

  • yowe

    “Suffering from illegal sanctions imposed by the west” hahaha this government is now on its knees

  • yowe

    Musanete kuBeitbridge uko!

  • Mapoka

    Ndichamuka kana mapedza kuba

  • Venda

    Masvingo post office torched! Beitbridge is on flames- skip Chivhu- hendei paHarare pahasha!! The citizens have spoken- some have told government officials openly that this government does not care about the people, some have used swear words openly- no one listened. Saka ndizvozvo- ahoy macitizens!

  • The Solution

    I think this is a mess. Yes we have a serious effect on imports coming from SA to the local industry but to start implementing such a statutory is a premature short cut in trying to solve the problem. There is need for a holistic approach to solve the Zim crisis first and to start of, we should build a good political image as a country then revamp the administration systems of our government. That’s when we will have to implement such instruments and I know for sure that by that time no one will demonstrate because not everyone will be importing these goods as such changes will mean good invester confidence which culminates to a rejuvenated local industry that can support the government. Right now you are dealing with hungry people and hungry people are angry people who decided it is not worthwhile to push for a change in the political landscape (as this spills blood unnecessarily when their vote is denied) and cross the border in order to make a means to feed their starving families only to meet ruthless border officers on their way back, who also are highly corrupt AND YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST ROB PEOPLE LIKE THAT…..Watch the space! I say solve the root problem not the symptoms….the people are suffering.