Transport operators profit from fear of attack

malaishaBEITBRIDGE - Cross-border transport operators, commonly known as umalayitsha, are cashing in on growing fears of renewed xenophobic attacks in neighouring South Africa.

In interviews, omalayitsha said business was brisk as more Zimbabweans based in South Africa were transporting their valuables into the country in anticipation of renewed attacks.

Omalayitsha charge 300 rand for travellers with passports and R1,000 for those without. For household items such as fridges they charge as much as R1,000.

We are getting more and more people offering to have their goods and children taken to Zimbabwe following reports of a new wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, said Innocent Tshuma, a cross-border transporter, who plies the

Bulawayo-Johannesburg route.

Another umalayitsha added: There has been an increase in cross-border business,

particularly from Zimbabweans sending home their valuables. I make about R15,000 per week and the number of trips has also increased.

One border official said he had seen a malayitsha escorting five children all under 12 to Bulawayo.

He told me that the parents were in Johannesburg and had decided to send their children first as they continued to monitor the situation that side.

Immigration officers at the border post said the number of travellers entering the country had gone up. More than 43,000 travellers entered the country last week, most of them Zimbabweans.

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