South Africa: Return of Zimbabweans Excites South Africa SMEs

Musina — SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs), hailed as the cornerstone of the South African economy, are set to thrive following the reopening of the border with Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

The closure of the Beitbridge border post, the busiest in Sub-Saharan Africa, in March greatly affected SMEs in South Africa, which mainly rely on mostly cross-border traders and visitors from Zimbabwe in general.

The closure was part of efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) between countries.

Towns around the border had been left resembling ghost towns with the absence of the enterprising and entrepreneurial citizens from the north of the Limpopo River.

“Without Zimbabweans coming to Musina, Louis Trichardt, Polokwane and Ṱhohoyanḓou, local businesses in Limpopo Province cannot be the same,” Rudzani Muleya, a Musina entrepreneur told CAJ News Africa.

Muleya added, “Zimbabweans are our chief customers. They possess buying power that transforms our economy.”

A high number of Zimbabweans cross the border to buy some goods that are not always available in their country following the economic problems blamed on the sanctions imposed by Western nations at the turn of the millennium.

Another South African entrepreneur, Shalati Chauke, welcomed the reopening of the border.

“This is the moment all Limpopo SMEs have been waiting for,” Chauke said.