ZCOA engages South African Counterpart

handshakeThe Zimbabwe CrossBorder Operators Association (ZCOA) met in Beitbridge on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 and resolved to engage their South African counterparts to review a border operational agreement they signed in December 2011. The meeting was attended by 168 cross border transport operators at Dulivadzimu Stadium.

It was necessitated by a recent wave of intimidation of Zimbabweans in Musina by South African transporters, who accuse members of ZCOA of driving them out of business. There are over 400 Zimbabwean crossborder transporters who shuttle between Musina and Beitbridge daily. Early on Monday, the South Africans blocked traffic, especially pickup trucks entering that country via Beitbridge Border Post, for almost six hours before police stepped in.Indications are that South Africans are advocating a set up where they carry all goods and people from Musina to the border post.

They will then offload at their side of the border, where the passengers will look for alternative transport. Since Monday, the South African operators have been violently extorting R300, which they called access fees, from Zimbabwean operators in Musina.

ZCOA chairperson Mr Takavingei Mahachi said: “We held a very fruitful meeting with our members today (yesterday) and resolved that we engage our counterparts in South Africa, so that we may review and revert to our initial agreement of 2011.“During that time, we agreed that our members should only carry luggage from South Africa while they carry people only from Musina to their side of the border.

“Though we have been living up to that setup,we have also noted that some of our people have been carrying both goods and people outside our 2011 agreement with the South Africans.”An immigration official at Beitbridge said though the situation in Musina was potentially volatile, the movement trend of the day trippers had not changed.

“We are still clearing between 9 000 and 11 000 people daily and have not seen anything untoward in the movement pattern,” said the official. In 2010, Zimbabwean crossborder buses were pushed out of Musina by the locals who argued they deserved the lion’s share.

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