South Africa Defends Zim Import Ban Policy

HOME Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba (pictured) says he does not blame Zimbabwean Customs for preventing South African goods from entering Zimbabwe.

Speaking at OR Tambo International Airport about the rollout of the biometric capture system, Gigaba said the installation of the system had not reduced the number of people entering the country.

His department expected more visitors to make their way to SA, but Gigaba did admit that the instability on the Zimbabwe side of the Beitbridge border post had caused a drop in the number of Zimbabwean visitors.

He said the number of travellers had almost halved from 15,000 a day, which had showed in the amount of money collected at the border post.

Gigaba said the Beitbridge port of entry oversaw a similar number of travellers as OR Tambo International Airport.

“We cannot criticise the Zimbabwean government‚ because it’s a domestic policy issue that they have introduced. They are trying to look after national interest (and) their economy‚” said Gigaba.

In an effort to protect its economy‚ the Zimbabwe government has imposed restrictions on imports of certain goods from SA. The ban led to protests on both sides of the border last Friday.

Gigaba said the biometric capture system was intended to ease the movement of people travelling through SA.

He said the system would allow SA to communicate better with Interpol in ensuring unwanted visitors did not enter the country.

But Gigaba could not say when the biometric system would be linked to Interpol’s database.