The transporters said business was brisk as more South African-based Zimbabweans were sending goods, particularly food, to their starving relatives back home.
“Business is moving on well with more customers using our services to sustain their families back home. They prefer our services as we deliver door-to-door,” said a malayisha (informal transport operator) Jabu Tshuma, who operates from Esibayeni Taxi Rank in Johannesburg to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city.
He added, “It obviously pains us that things are getting worse by the day back home. Nonetheless, the situation helps boost our businesses because our services are more crucial than ever.”
Johannesburg’s Park Station Rank, where buses that ply the Johannesburg-Zimbabwe route is also a hive of activity as Zimbabweans send groceries to families and relatives that are struggling to put something on the table in their country.
A bus driver said business had been brisker in recent weeks.
“Business has peaked after revelations that Zimbabwe was running out of food,” he said.
He added that as a result of increasing demand, his company had added another bus to the route. Anne Moyo said she was now sending groceries more often.
“Owing to the worsening situation, I now send my family groceries every month either through malayishas and bus operators. However, this is setting me back as I am not making lots of money,” she said.
There are millions of Zimbabweans that reside in South Africa. These sustain their relatives in Zimbabwe, which is experiencing dire food shortages following the collapse of the agricultural sector. A shortage of foreign currency has also exacerbated the situation.
This is one of a few highlights of the country’s decline. Inflation is estimated at 231 million percent, while unemployment and poverty levels are at an all-time high.
The political situation is also uncertain as leaders are deadlocked over the allocation of key cabinet posts, threatening a power deal they recently signed to pave way for the reconstruction of the country–CAJ News.