Zimbabwe travellers stranded in South Africa after unrest

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A protester gestures as he holds a dog before a burning barricade during protests in Harare, Zimbabwe, January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Bus passengers travelling to Zimbabwe from South Africa found themselves stranded in the SA capital Johannesburg on Tuesday, as unrest led to regional bus lines suspending their services.

A protester gestures as he holds a dog before a burning barricade during protests in Harare, Zimbabwe, January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

 

Demonstrations in the capital Harare and in Bulawayo over the country’s collapsing economy have also led to banks, schools and businesses being shut down.

The suspension of bus services has blocked the flow of goods into Zimbabwe from the diaspora living in neighbouring countries.

One bus driver, Alexio Chirisa told Reuters: “We are coming from Port Elizabeth but we can’t proceed because they are saying things are tough there. The buses are being burned and roads are blocked, it’s total shutdown so as for today (Tuesday) we have to sleep here in Joburg.”

With banks strapped for cash, shipping essential daily commodities like rice and cooking oil to family members back in Zimbabwe has become a favoured alternative to cash remittances.

According to truck driver Shingirai Rungangah, the issue needs to be resolved.

“It’s a big problem to my family because now I don’t even know how they can survive because to send money to Zim, you can’t send, there’s no money in the banks.”

Several people were killed and some 200 arrested during Monday’s protests, which followed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to hike the price of fuel in an attempt to tackle the country’s worst economic crisis in a decade.

Zimbabweans have accused the president of failing to live up to pre-election promises to kick-start growth.