Black mobs have attacked and burned down a warehouse at the famous Beit Bridge crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe during ongoing protests over a Zimbabwean ban on importing South African goods.
The mob also prevented travelers crossing into South Africa by placing burning tires in the road and stoning passing vehicles—supposedly to halt all goods coming into South Africa.
Shops in the northern-most South African town of Musina (formerly known as Messina) were also forced to close after being threatened by mobs if they dared to conduct business as usual.
In addition, local media reports said that there “were even calls to set fire to a Zimbabwean citizen in protest against the measures and to force Zimbabwe to reverse its ban.”
The Beit Bridge Taxi Association, the Musina Meter Taxi Association, and residents in Musina “had extended an invitation to the Beit Bridge Cross-Border Transporters’ Association and Beit Bridge residents who were being refused the right to protest to join them on the South African side.”
The mob took part in a massive protest at the border post on Friday, with thousands blockading the border in protest against Zimbabwe’s enforcement of its “Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016,” which aims to control the importation of South African goods.
The Zimbabwe government wants to force its citizens to buy local goods.
However, Zimbabweans say that many of the now-banned goods are unavailable locally or are extremely expensive owing to the nation’s self-inflicted financial disaster following its anti-white purges of the past decade.
The protests have not only disrupted trade between South Africa and Zimbabwe, but between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Malawi, in what is the busiest border post in southern Africa.
With 85 percent of working-age Zimbabweans having no formal job, many make a living by buying goods in South Africa and reselling them in Zimbabwe.
The extensive list of South African items which are now banned include petroleum jelly, shoe polish, coffee creamers, baked beans, camphor cream, potato chips, mayonnaise, peanut butter, yoghurt, flavored milk, cereal, ice cream, cheese, used tires, fertilizers, tile adhesive, synthetic black hair products, bedroom and dining room suites, office furniture, and woven fabrics.
All banned items are confiscated, and even if individuals are willing to pay the duty, they need a license from the ministry of industry and commerce in Harare. Those without a license are arrested and fined US $2,000.
According to reports, cargo has been stuck at the border for nine days as importers have struggled to get permits for their goods.
After whites were expelled from the country’s farms, measures were also taken to prevent them holding businesses and other enterprises. As a result, Zimbabwe’s economy has collapsed, with exports in this former food-exporting country collapsing.
Only the lucrative platinum mines in Zimbabwe, run by the Zimplats company, keep the country running through its massive tax contributions—but even that company has its headquarters in the UK’s Channel Islands.
However, the financial crisis in Zimbabwe is so severe that by 2009, the government had run out of paper to print its already absurdly high-denomination banknotes, and in that year abolished the Zimbabwe dollar completely.
Zimbabwe is, therefore, one of the few nations in the world not to have any of its own banknotes, and all transactions are now carried out in foreign currencies such as the South African Rand, the US dollar, the UK’s pound sterling, and the euro.
The infamous Z$100 trillion bank note: one the last to be issued before the currency was abolished as a joke.