POLICE in Bulawayo yesterday descended heavily on illegal cash dealers popularly known as osiphatheleni in a bid to eradicate the thriving black market that government blames for the cash shortages plaguing the country.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Southern Eye yesterday morning witnessed police in plain clothes engaging in running battles with illegal cash dealers.
The operation was intensified in the areas frequented by the foreign currency dealers in the city centre.
Bulawayo police spokesperson, Inspector Precious Simango referred all questions to her boss, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Charity Charamba (pictured), who said she had not yet received any information concerning the raids.
“I have not received anything on that matter, I was in a meeting. I will get back to you,” she said.
However, a police source said the blitz was meant to weed out illegal money changers.
“It is part of our day to day duties and the blitz will continue until sanity prevails,” the police source said.
Zimbabwe is currently plunged in a cash crisis that has resulted in cash barons across the country taking advantage of the situation, charging between 40% and 45% interest to desperate people in need of cash.
People interviewed by Southern Eye yesterday commended the police for sniffing out illegal cash dealers.
The blitz comes after central bank governor, John Mangudya, said they were working on an instrument to arrest cash dealers operating on the parallel market.
Over the past week, there have been shortages of basic commodities, such as fuel and cooking.
President Robert Mugabe on Monday threatened unspecified action against “economic saboteurs”, accusing them of causing last week’s shortages of fuel and basic commodities such as cooking oil.