RIOT police moved in quickly and restored order at the Beitbridge Border Post on Tuesday after disgruntled truckers and travellers threatened violence in protest against a new revenue collection requirement that caused delays.
Under the new arrangement, all government departments are now obliged to surrender revenue collection duties to the customs and excise department of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
These include road access fees, road coupons, port health, veterinary, transit fees for foreign vehicles, and agricultural permits for goods previously paid for in other departments.
The move is part of efforts to migrate to the envisaged one-stop-border post system to reduce time spent clearing travellers and goods.
Tempers flared when the two customs and excise clerks, tasked to collect revenue, were overwhelmed, as their e-system was slow, resulting in long queues.
Restless travellers and truck drivers burst into song and dance, as they protested against the delays, before riot police moved into to calm the situation to avoid a repeat of the violent clashes that occurred on July 1, when cross-border traders violently demonstrated against the introduction of Statutory Instrument 64/2016.
Zimra regional manager in charge of Beitbridge, Batsirayi Chadzingwa yesterday accused touts of fuelling Tuesday’s chaos.
“After police dispersed the touts, normalcy prevailed,” he said.
Some transporters claimed that the changes had inconvenienced them, as they had paid upfront to various departments at the border post.
“We are not in charge of those accounts, they should liaise with those departments,” Chadzingwa said.