BULAWAYO Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has warned its members to desist from using undesignated entry and exit points at the Beitbridge border following the introduction of the Border Management Authority (BMA).
This follows an announcement by the South African Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi last week that 200 guards have been deployed at undesignated points along the border.
BVTA director Michael Ndiweni the members should avoid breaching the law as this will result in a clampdown of those who choose the wrong way.
“We urge Informal Cross Border Traders (ICBT)s to take caution of the new developments in South Africa and desist from using undesignated entry and exit points to avoid being in confrontation with the law,” he said.
“It is said that the guards will be strategically deployed along some segments of the border and the initiative aims to facilitate legal cross-border movement and curb criminality around the border,” he said.
Ndiweni admitted that some informal traders were forced to use undesignated entry and exit points because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“About three million Zimbabweans, most of whom are women, have been making a living through buying goods in the neighbouring South Africa and reselling them across the region , however due to the lockdown and shutting down of borders , their business have since collapsed, leading to use of undesignated entry and exit points,” said Ndiweni.
The BVTA director said he hopes that the BMA programme will also address some challenges faced by women at the border post.
“Over the years, there have been cases of theft , robbery , sexortion and verbal abuse at the border post most victims being women ICBTs , as BVTA we hope such violence will be curbed.