Zims lose faith in SA Rand

Retailers, service providers and consumers are shunning the South African Rand because of its weakened value and constant fluctuations.

Public transport operators, private and government health institutions, lawyers and consultants are turning down clients wishing to pay in Rands, arguing that they encounter problems when they approach retailers for goods.

“There is no point in accepting the notes when other people you do business with won’t take the money from you. We are busy and don’t want to waste time moving from one place to another to look for shops or business people who will accept Rands,” said Petros Jombo, the owner of a fleet of commuter buses.

He admitted that rejection of the notes inconvenienced travellers, confessing that, in some cases, passengers were being dropped off along routes for failing to produce US dollars. The operators still accept coins. But whereas they used to accept R4 for a half a dollar trip, they are now insisting on R5.

“Currently, there is a negative perception against the Rand and the trend might continue for some time,” said economist Vincent Musewe.

John Robertson, another Harare-based economist, said Zimbabweans were losing faith in the South currency because negotiating exchange rates was a hassle.

“Retailers and service providers who receive the Rand have extra work to do. The rand’s value tends to fluctuate and this means that exchange rates are always changing, making it difficult to calculate value against the US dollar,” he said.

“The rand has remained weak, albeit with small gains against the greenback, because of the many problems that South Africa is facing, among them unsettling job action, the looming elections and political talk of dramatic black empowerment,” he added.

On the black market, R100 is fetching about $9.30 in Harare, while the rates gradually decrease as one moves closer to South Africa. In Masvingo, R100 is being changed for about $8.50 while in Beitbridge and Musina, a dealer gets only $8.

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