BEITBRIDGE — Haulage trucks have been stuck at all the country’s border posts due to a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) systems changeover mishap.
The result has been unprecedented queues of cargo carriers especially trucks coming into Zimbabwe. Captains of industry have since sent an SOS to government seeking intervention.
Zimra closed all border posts on Saturday at midnight to facilitate a systems changeover supposed to be completed by Monday, but that did not happen. By yesterday the border controlling authority was still struggling to get its systems up resulting in a serious cargo processing backlog, especially at Beitbridge Border Post.
Clearing agents were at sixes and sevens struggling to clear cargo which has threatened to bring industry to a standstill.
Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube confirmed the development yesterday, saying the business community had approached him complaining about the delays.
“I have received representations from members of industry and commerce over the matter. Before that, as a ministry we were not aware of the changeover because we were not notified or consulted. I am, however, taking this up with the Minister of Finance and (Zimra) Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi to see if we can get a way forward on this matter,” said Ncube.
Officials at the Indigenous Shipping and Freight Association of Zimbabwe (ISFAZ) office at Beitbridge told NewsDay all border posts were affected as the new Asycuda World software that Zimra has installed, had failed.
“Goods are stuck at border posts across the country and our members have been trying to have meetings with Zimra Commissioner–General Gershem Pasi to get this problem solved, but nothing has happened.
We have even asked them to revert to the old system while they sort themselves out, but they have refused,” said an ISFAZ official.
A Customs official from South Africa said the failure by Zimbabwe to clear traffic at Beitbridge Border Post was also affecting the South African side.
“We have been to the Zimbabwean side and we are now losing our patience. If they fail to address their problem by tonight (last night), we will be forced to release the trucks by tomorrow (today) morning,” he said.
Haulage trucks on the South African side had filled the two parking bays at Musina and were now almost blocking the main road.
Attempts to get comment from Zimra were in vain as the principal officers were engaged in endless meetings. Angeline Mashiri, a Zimra official in charge of information technology at Beitbridge Border Post, was not answering her telephone.
An employee who later answered Mashiri’s cellphone said she had left it unattended in her office.