The festive season is truly upon us. We have the usual price hikes that typically accompany the Christmas season going into effect with multiple companies including Mobile Network Operators hiking their bundle prices. We are also seeing a spike in the number of visitors coming from South Africa as various people arrive back into the country for Christmas. holidays These weary road travellers often need food, water and a way to easily change their money.

To cater to these, a lot of vendors and illegal foreign currency dealers have now thronged tollgates where they are offering their wares to these travellers. It seems they are making good money too as tollgates are sometimes used by South African and other long-distance buses as unofficial rest stops. These people tend to be hungry and when they do fall hungry vendors are there to peddle their food products.

Also often these people have foreign currency in the form of Rands which are not very popular in Zimbabwe’s nothing regions where the American dollar rules the roost. To help with the change we have illegal foreign currency dealers offering their services often at connived rates that are lower than the street rates. The dealers probably bank on the fact that those coming are likely to be not aware of the prevailing street rates.

ZINARA and ZRP officials are not happy for two reasons:

  • They are taking potential foreign currency from the government as the visitors are likely to now pay in RTGS for services given the low rates the government uses.
  • These officials have also offered some of these services in the past and are not happy with the new competition.

As the police and ZINARA, we have taken a common position that vending and foreign currency dealings at tollgates are illegal..

The police will take all the necessary measures to ensure the illegal vendors are removed from tollgates.

Those who resist will be arrested. We also urged ZINARA officials who are also at toll gates to conscientise the people that vending and money changing are illegal.

Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi