The economic sustainability of cross-border feeder towns to neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe has taken a massive beating during the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown.
Source: Musina businesses faces collapse – The Zimbabwean
In Musina, which is located about 15km from the Beitbridge border gate that separates Zimbabwe and South Africa, shop owners say the lockdown has practically destroyed their businesses.
“We are struggling because business is bad right now because of the coronavirus. Most of our customers from Zimbabwe are not able to come and buy anymore, so we lose half of the customers,” said Rana Masut, who owns a shop in the small town of Musina.
He said that, in the past three months, his income had dropped from roughly R6 000 per day to about R1 000 on a good day, due to the closure of international borders as a result of Covid-19.
Musina has agriculture, tourism and game farming as its major economic strengths.
Some Zimbabwean migrant workers in these industries are the sole breadwinners for their families but, since the start of the lockdown, transporting food back home has been a challenge.
“We don’t know when they are going to open the borders but the situation right now is very challenging because we cannot send any food back home. Our relatives in Zimbabwe are suffering,” said a Zimbabwean truck driver City Press spoke to by the border gate.
He said the only possible solution for transporting goods to their home country was to smuggle them through the border fence.