By Dumisani Nyoni
Plumtree, October 26, 2016 – WHILE the recent opening of a new border post between Zimbabwe and Botswana could be good news to some, the case is not the same with many residents in Plumtree who have seen the flight of business operators to the new port of entry.
The new Mlambapele Border Post links Zimbabwe and Botswana in Gwanda South.
Plumtree Combined Residents and Development Association (PCRADA) chairperson, Richard Khumalo lamented that operators have since abandoned the town to take advantage of emerging business opportunities at the new place.
This has been the case with both formal and informal businesses.
“The situation here in Plumtree is dire,” Khumalo told RadioVOP during a recent visit.
“Power Sales and other hardware shops have closed. Also most flea markets are empty including council fruit and vegetable market at Dingumuzi bus rank.
“For the benefit of doubt, there are many nice built shops now closed. Most of formal and informal traders have left Plumtree town ever since the Mlambapele Border Post was opened.”
Residents said the number of people passing through Plumtree Border Post has reduced significantly, forcing many businesses to shut down due to diminishing sales.
Mlambapele Border Post started operating in June this year as authorities try to decongest Plumtree Border Post.
The Post is the fourth entry point between Zimbabwe and Botswana the others being Plumtree, Maitengwe and Mphoengs border posts which are already operational.
Meanwhile, Khumalo urged Plumtree Town authorities to reduce or scrap some of the levies, license fees and other charges contained in the council’s proposed 2017 budget.
He said most big shops have closed because of lack of business and expensive trading licenses which scare away investors, comparing it with other small towns.
Khumalo said daily collections of 50 cents per day must be reduced to 20 cents per day, as most vendors could now spend lengthy periods without any sales.
He said vending containers and caravans should drop from $1 to 50 cents per day as they also face the same situation of economic hardships.