SA goods flood Zimbabwe

Zims working in SA send home millions every month
luke_zungaJOHANNESBURG - From household electrical gadgets like television sets, refrigerators and home theatre sets, to building materials and clothing, Zimbabweans are buying South African goods in bulk and sending them home on a larger scale than ever before. (Pi

We have not stopped carrying goods to Zimbabwe even after the government of national unity was formed, said Kudakwashe Moyo, a bus conductor plying the Johannesburg-Bulawayo highway. As you can see here, people have moved bags full of grocery items and durables. Other goods are still either in a very short supply or very expensive back home, hence their continued importation from here.

Long-distance termini for buses plying Zimbabwean routes are always teeming with Zimbabweans trying to send their luggage home. Despite the formation of the unity government in February last year and the formal scrapping of the Zimdollar, the economy has not recovered substantially because of political in-fighting and continued corruption by Zanu (PF) in all sectors.

The volumes increase during month-ends, when those working here get paid because most of them prefer to buy goods and send back home, said another conductor, Stephen Sibanda. According to Luke Zunga, chairman of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Chamber (ZDDC), an estimated one million Zimbabweans are in formal employment in South Africa. Another 2 million are active in the informal sector and about half of them buy goods to send home on a regular basis.

An average Zimbabwean working in Johannesburg and other cities earns about R1 500 a month, according to a research I recently did for the University of South Africa (UNISA). Every month they each send an average of R300 home to Zimbabwe, said Zunga.

Many others earn a lot more and send home much more than that, while others buy durable goods to send. This trend seems to have increased now, with more Zimbabweans now legally coming in to either work or shop here, after the visa waiver by the South African government.

In addition, thousands of Zimbabweans from the informal sector inside Zimbabwe travel to South Africa every month to import goods for re-sale. Zunga said this trend would continue until Zimbabwe managed to get its economy back on track, which could take a long time given the intransigence of Mugabe and Zanu (PF) who still adamantly refuse to share power or give up their place at the feeding trough of state resources.

South African companies will therefore continue to benefit from the increasing trade with Zimbabweans, who buy more but have very little to export to their neighbour.

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