The opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) has condemned the move by the government to charge border access fees in either US dollars or South African rand for all commercial vehicles passing through Beitbridge Border Post with effect from 1 December 2022.
According to Statutory Instrument 192 of 2022, the new regulation will apply to both foreign and local registered vehicles.
In a statement, CCC Parliamentary Spokesperson on Transport and Infrastructure Development, Settlement Chikwinya (MP), said the new policy shows that the government has no confidence in the Zimbabwe dollar.
Chikwinya said the move is also illegal as it is against the Principles of the Reserve Bank Act Chpt 22:15 that establishes the Zimbabwe Dollar as a legal tender.
He said CCC will challenge the legality of Statutory Instrument 192 of 2022 gazetted by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development in the courts. Read Chikwinya’s statement below:
We strongly condemn the forced USD Toll fees at Beitbridge Border Post that will come into effect on the 1st of December 2022.
On 11 February 2022, the government of Zimbabwe gazetted SI 192/2022 which states that toll fees for Commercial vehicles at Beitbridge Border Post are payable exclusively in USD and SA Rands irrespective of the vehicle’s country of registration.
This means that even vehicles registered in Zimbabwe and owned by Zimbabweans will have to pay toll fees in USD or SA Rands.
CCC views this irrational move by the Min of Transport & Infrastructure Hon Felix Mhona as not only illegal but very insensitive considering that the majority of Citizens in Zimbabwe who earn a legitimate income are earning ZW$ especially the C/Servants & most working class.
The latest punitive action by the government on the motoring public that intends to use the B/B remains illegal in that it goes against the Principles of the Reserve Bank Act Chpt 22:15 that establishes the Zimbabwe Dollar as a legal tender and a currency of choice for Zimbabweans.
It remains illogical and very much so illegal for the same government that in February of 2019 promulgated SI33/2019 introducing the RTGS electronic transactions platform and further in June 2019 enacted SI142/2019 firmly introducing back the Zimbabwe Dollar to the market.
The same government now disregards the same Zimbabwe dollar and RTGs for toll fees exclusive to Beitbridge Border Post, how a national piece of legislation will apply to one border post and not others in a country with 8 border posts remains baffling.
In SI192/2022, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development completely ignores the intention of Parliament in enacting the Reserve Bank Act as read together with various Statutory Instruments that seek to establish the multi-currency regime.
The Minister of Transport further contradicts his counterpart, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Prof Mthuli Ncube.
On 27 June 2022, Ncube addressed the nation and said, “The Market’s lack of confidence in Multi-currency is causing us problems, but I am here to assure you it will remain in place for the next five years.” (APANews).
Hon Mhona further rubbishes his boss’ powers who through the use of Presidential Powers ( Temporary Measures ACT) enacted SI 118A/2022.
The act establishes the Multi-Currency regime and provides for penalties to anyone or entity that refuses to trade in the currencies defined in the Multi-Currency basket with the Zimbabwe Dollar included.
This law runs for the whole duration of the National Development Strategy 1 Policy that is from 1 January 2021 to December 2025. This law runs for the whole duration of the National Development Strategy 1 Policy that is from 1 January 2021 to December 2025.
All the Minister of Transport is showing is a lack of confidence in the Zimbabwe Dollar and policies by his government and ruling party Zanu-PF and its leader Emerson Mnangagwa.
The Citizens Coalition for Change views the introduction of the exclusive USD payment for toll fees payment as an increase in the cost of doing business at B/Boarder Post that will result in most commercial vehicles avoiding this Border Post & using other ports of entry.
Foreigners have already begun shunning Beitbridge Border Post in preference for Kazungula Border Post en route to Zambia and DRC. This will definitely affect business in the expanding town of Beitbridge.
The new Policy by Government at Beitbridge Border Post does not come as a surprise as the main Contractor who was awarded the tender to rehabilitate the Border Infrastructure is Mr Glynn Cohen with his Company Zimborders.
Mr Cohen, born in Zimbabwe now resides in Monaco, a tax haven island on the offshores of Italy and obvious all the USD payments are now being looted and shipped to the tax haven island.
Mr Cohen intends to quickly recoup his money before the 2023 general Elections, a move borne out of a lack of confidence in ZANU PF winning the next election. The Citizens Coalition for Change condemns this illegal looting of public funds through such lawfare.
The Citizens Coalition for Change will definitely put SI 192/2022 to a challenge in the courts of Law fully confident that a fair and reasonable court will outlaw this piece of unjust legislation.
Once in government after the 2023 elections, a Citizens Coalition for Change government will facilitate a conducive business environment at all Border Posts for ease of doing business for cross-border commercial traders and the general motoring public.
We shall instill confidence in our local currency through increased production and good governance in all sectors of the economy through committed respect for the rule of law.