Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
BUS operators plying the Harare-Johannesburg route yesterday said business has nosedived following the xenophobic attacks that have gripped South Africa.
They said the attacks impacted negatively on their operations as most of the buses were heading to Johannesburg half empty. At least seven people have been killed in the ongoing anti-immigrant violence that is targeting Africans.
Eagle Liner’s regional information technology sales specialist, Mr Noble Toto, said daily revenue had dwindled significantly since April 18.
“We used to have an average of R60 000 per day from our coaches but between April 18 and 21 we were now getting at least R20 000,” he said.
“However, as from yesterday (Wednesday) the number of travellers increased giving us an average of R47 000 per day.”
Mr Toto said their buses would sometimes leave for Johannesburg with between 23 and 30 passengers out of a possible 67. Yesterday one of the Eagle Liner coaches left Harare with only 17 passengers.
Eagle Liner has four coaches plying the Harare-Johannesburg route.
Munenzwa Bus Company’s Harare operations manager, who identified himself as Mr Pito-Pito, confirmed business was at its lowest.
“Ever since xenophobia started, our buses have been going to South Africa with 26 to 30 passengers. The bus can carry 60 passengers but I guess people have been avoiding to travel due to fears of xenophobic attacks. However, when coming back to Harare from Johannesburg, numbers of people coming home would have slightly increased,” he said.
An employee from First Class said: “The number of passengers decreased ever since xenophobic attacks started, however, most people started travelling to South Africa on Wednesday.”
Informal traders frequent South Africa where they buy wares for resale back home.
Efforts to get a comment from the Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders’ Association president Mr Killer Zivhu were fruitless yesterday.