The decision to close 20 of the country’s land borders as part of extended coronavirus lockdown regulations will have a detrimental effect on the daily trade dependence of countries like Zimbabwe, Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt has said.
Commenting on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “family meeting” announcement last night that South Africa was to remain on level three of Covid-curbing measures, with certain adjustments such as the closure of borders like Beitbridge, Roodt said it would hit Zimbabweans hard.
“Those people are extremely reliant on cross-border business with South Africa and the price they’re going to pay is significant.”
He said the humanitarian challenges Zimbabwean residents faced on a daily basis because of poor socio-economic conditions would be exacerbated by the closure of Beitbridge to ordinary travellers.
Yet their resilience in finding solutions for their plight will force them to try to cross the border elsewhere.
It also goes to show, he added, how the South African government was “focusing on the wrong issue.
“They see people converge on the border posts and yes, for sure, these make for super-spreader events. But that’s not the problem, the problem is ineffective administration. Fix that and you won’t have people crowding into border crossings.”
He also commented on the fact that last night’s announcement had come the same day that news was being circulated about the department of home affairs saying it would be dispatching officials to borders like Beitbridge to find answers to life-threatening congestion issues experienced at busy land crossings – only for problematic borders to be closed anyway.
“We’ve been seeing this administrative disconnect at the highest level of government for years. The one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.”