By Jermaine Ndlovu
A visit to Ntepe Manama business centre, which nestles Majiya business complex one will be mistaken to think they are in a village across the Limpopo due to the South Africa products littering the land in Gwanda South.
Gwanda businesses and households rely more on products that come from South Africa, Musina to be specific which is approximately 215 Kilometers away.
Musina, formerly Messina, is a town in the Limpopo province of South Africa. It is located near the confluence of the Limpopo River with the Sand River and the border to Zimbabwe.
The Beitbridge border post is the busiest border in southern Africa, linking South Africa to the northern parts of the continent, through Zimbabwe. The border is reported to clear 500 trucks a day.
With the crippled economy, Zimbabweans rely on the South African market for food products and other industrial and commercial products. Some of these products are smuggled into the country through an undesignated port of entry into the country.
Matabeleland South businesses rely on the South African market and smugglers to keep their businesses afloat. But these smuggling syndicates have also caused untold suffering to the environment in rural Gwanda South where the local authority does not collect refuse which is usually litter from the smuggled products.
Among the litter found are beer bottles, food plastics, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, and leftover food that pose a health threat to humans and mostly livestock which is the backbone of Matabeleland South economy.
Residents and shop owners have set up illegal dumpsites where they throw them away just near the shops, exposing livestock to health hazards.
Alfios Ngwenya, a community leader said the local authority must set up ways to detect the inflow of smuggled goods into their area.
“We have a problem in our area where South African products are brought into the country and the refuse is not taken care of, and it’s hard to detect which business would have brought in these products since they come into the country and our villages through undesignated ports of entry and corrupt methods. We need the local authority to act upon this, at least set up roadblocks that will monitor the inflow of trucks and goods in our area, people should be held responsible for their actions. Also residents should be educated of the dangers of such activities, how it poses a danger to their lives as well as their livestock,” he said.
Ina report presented during a full council meeting recently, the local authority was making strides to set up systems for refuse collection in the area and also to set up systems to curb the problem.
Leading a cleanup campaign in Lupane recently former Vice President, Mohadi Kembo urged residents to come up with waste management initiatives such as recycling waste rather than leaving it to denigrate the environment.
“I want to emphasize the need for implementing best practices of waste management in rural service centers, towns and cities. Let’s utilize opportunities that come with proper waste management systems by creating local economies specializing in handling waste. This is the cornerstone of attaining a clean, safe and healthy environment,” he said.
Gwanda’s ward 2 councilor Nappy Moyo encouraged locals to take up cleaning their areas as a priority.
“We should take up cleaning initiatives as a matter of importance and we should not wait for the government or ministry to come up with cleanup projects for our areas. This is our area and we should be proud of ourselves and for that to be we should always keep our systems clean,” he said.
According to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), there is a rampant abuse of import laws by many people who falsify or understate the values and amount of shipments, especially those coming from South Africa through the Beitbridge border post.
Zimra moved to introduce 100 percent searches on all private imported cargo after detecting a lot of rent seeking activities by importers and transporters.
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