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SA rejects Zim border passes

Source: NewsDay

Author: Nqobani Ndlovu

 

South African immigration officials have reportedly stopped accepting border passes used by Beitbridge residents to cross into the neighbouring country in a move believed to be a hit-back at Zimbabwe’s decision to ban imports of South African-manufactured basic goods.

The Senate Thematic Committee on Peace and Security learnt of the new measures during a recent visit to Beitbridge Border Post to “get a more comprehensive understanding of the problems there”.

The committee also visited Plumtree Border Post.

“It was also submitted to the committee that sometimes buses bring in undocumented persons from South Africa and that the South African authorities do not accept temporary travel documents and border passes anymore,” committee chairperson Damian Mumvuri told the Senate last week.

“This has caused problems at the border post as those denied entry into South Africa are found loitering on the Zimbabwean side,” Mumvuri said.

Border passes are used mainly by residents staying close to the country’s borders to cross the borderline on a weekly or even daily basis to study, work, shop and visit family members.

Mumvuri bemoaned the porosity of the border post, which he said had caused the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to lose a lot of potential revenue.

“There is rampant smuggling by cyclists and the rate of compliance with regulations is very low. Smuggling of hazardous substances like fuel and the abuse of rebates were noted as prevalent,” he said.

Mumvuri called on government to put in place “stringent” and “robust” measures, among others, to stamp out rampant corruption and smuggling at the border post.

“The committee realises that there is a greater need to address the problem of porous borders and weak border control and management mechanisms in order to ensure sustainable revenue generation at ports of entry and also stamp out effectively the problem of both human and goods smuggling.

“Adequate resources have to be availed to the relevant departments by Treasury to ensure peace and security is secured in and around Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe recently banned importation of several South African-made goods in a bid to protect local industries, but the move triggered violent protests at Beitbridge Border Posts as cross-border traders felt the ban would further impoverish them.


Constitutional court in landmark ruling on ZBC licenses

Source: NewsDay Zimbabwe

 

The Constitutional Court has delivered a landmark ruling on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services (Zbc) licensing saga ordering every citizen to pay the broadcaster’s license fees irrespective of the service provider one may select to use.

The court ruled that citizens were not being asked to pay for the services provided for by Zbc but the legislature came up with the law compelling all citizens possessing gadgets capable of receiving radio and television signals, to pay tax for possessing such gadgets.

The judgment was delivered in a matter involving Bernard Wekare and Musangano Lodge who were both challenging the compulsory payment of Zbc licenses arguing it was in violation of the country’s Constitution since citizens were being forced to pay for services they did not want to watch or listen to.


Military escort for trucks on Beira road

Source: The Herald

 

MAPUTO. — Mozambique’s army will escort trucks travelling a 270-kilometre stretch of road that passes through territory held by militias aligned with the opposition Renamo party, an industry body said.

Last week, two people were killed and 12 cargo trucks burned on National Road 7, a key artery linking Mozambique’s port of Beira to landlocked Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While the military convoys offer protection, they also double travel time and increase costs for haulers, according to Castigo Nhamane, head of the Mozambican Federation of Road Transport, or Fematro.

“A trip that lasted two days before now can last twice as long because the convoys leave during a certain period only,” Nhamane said by phone.

“We urge the political leadership to resolve this issue. Carriers are struggling to pay back bank credit contracted for business. We can’t pay the wages of our workers.”

Iron-ore producer Vale SA said two trains on the Sena rail line in the north-western Tete province were shot at last week. Two people were injured in the incident, it said in an e-mailed statement.

Renamo resumed an insurgency against the government in 2013, two decades after it ended a civil war against the country’s ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique. The latest round of conflict has left more than 300 people dead, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a project run by the University of Sussex in the UK that draws statistics from reports by the media, humanitarian agencies and other groups.

The rebel movement led by Afonso Dhlakama has said attacks will persist on civilian vehicles that are used for military logistics.

The government has said the strikes seek to destabilise the nation’s transport sector.

A joint commission including representatives of President Filipe Nyusi and Dhlakama have met in the past two weeks to prepare the terms of reference for the resumption of talks aimed at ending the conflict.

Fematro says it doesn’t have statistics on how many trucks have come under attack since the violence began in 2013, but that there has been an escalation in the number of incidents in the past few months.

“No one is going to pay for the damages, not the government nor the other party,” Nhamane said. — Bloomberg.


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