By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, November 22, 2016 – A South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman is up in arms with Zimbabwean authorities at the Beitbridge border post who are reportedly holding on to a large consignment of blankets he intended to donate to three local hospitals.
Justice Maphosa told RadioVOP that more than 1000 blankets could not be cleared as ZIMRA officials were demanding duty from him.
Maphosa said authorities were citing the existence of Statutory Instrument number 64/2016 which puts strict controls on the importation of certain food and material products by locals.
“They are still stuck at the Beibridge Border Post and that pains me a lot,” Maphosa said, adding that the donation was meant for United Bulawayo Hospital, Mpilo Hospital and Gwanda Hospital.
“I bought 400 blankets for Mpilo, another 400 for UBH and 200 for Gwanda Hospital. These new blankets are for patients but government is taking longer to clear them.
“What is so painful also is that they are charging me for keeping those blankets there. Last week they sent me a bill and I had to settle it.”
Maphosa was speaking on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Matabeleland chapter’s trade and investment opportunities conference held in Bulawayo on Friday.
He said government should be seen supporting those willing to plough back to the country as opposed to frustrating their efforts.
“This is my home country and motherland. We get disturbed if such things are happening yet we are trying to assist where we could. When I heard that these hospitals do not have blankets, I took a step and bought them using my own resources,” he said.
He urged government to clear the donation as a matter of urgency as patients in the mentioned hospitals were in need of them.
Zimbabwe’s ailing public health sector, once one of the best in Africa, has been hardest hit by the economic crisis with the government short of cash to import essential medicines and equipment.