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Reservations over Omalayitsha for ED initiative

Informal cross-border transporters

INFORMAL cross-border transporters, popularly known as omalayitsha, have expressed mixed feelings over a new outfit, Omalayitsha for Economic Development (ED) which was launched in Bulawayo on Tuesday.

They expressed fear that the initiative could be part of a Zanu PF scheme to fish for votes for the harmonised elections to be held later this year.

During the Omalayitsha for ED’s launch on Tuesday, informal cross-border transporters pledged to contribute towards national economic development.

The initiative has, however, been met with scepticism with most of the operators not too keen to be associated with it

One informal transporter who asked not to be named told Southern Eye that government only wants votes during elections.

“I have heard about this initiative and honestly, it is not something that I can jump to consider. Why is it being introduced now that elections are at our doorsteps? This clearly looks like the government is fishing for votes,” he said.

Another cross-border transporter, Themba  Ngwenya, said: “We have met other transporters in Gwanda who ply the South African route. We discussed the matter and the general feeling is that we are sceptical of this initiative and why it is being introduced now? We feel like the government is trying to advance its political mileage using this initiative.”

Another operator said the initiative was motivated by a government that wanted something in return.

“Government has never looked after us or taken a keen interest about our operations. Once you get to the Zimbabwean side of the border from South Africa or Botswana, there are plenty of roadblocks and all the traffic officers at the roadblocks want money from us in order to get passage.  It is really daunting being exploited like that. They must not pretend as if they care about us, we are not gullible fools,” he said.

For years, the transporters who operate in different countries in the southern African region have been the backbone of most families.  They have been transporting groceries from the diaspora to families back home.

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