The closure of the Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe saw a spike in smuggling between the two countries and as Zimbabwe is set to move from level 4 to level 1 of its lockdown, many smugglers admit they'll now lose business. eNCA's Lindokuhle Xulu reports. Courtesy of #DStv403
MUSINA - The closure of the Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe saw a spike in smuggling between the two countries.
As Zimbabwe is set to move from Level 4 to Level 1 of its lockdown, smugglers admit they will lose business.
Despite this, a group has welcomed the reopening of the border, saying it will bring much-needed relief for the people of Zimbabwe.
Named after Zambian cargo trucks, the group of border crossers are called the Zalawis.
Unlike the trucks drivers though, their job is illegal: helping to smuggle goods from South Africa to Zimbabwe starting from R50 per bag.
Many who work as smugglers are qualified professionals, who say there are no jobs in Zimbabwe.
One smuggler explained it wasn't his first choice of employment when he came to South Africa.
He arrived in Gauteng, as a construction worker and could make ends meet for a while but was then forced to go home.
"Being arrested without proper documentation, I decided to come back to Zimbabwe, then I couldn't go back to teaching cause when I left I didn't resign properly," he said
Looking for an alternative, he was hired as a security officer but after earning only R200 per week he says he was left with no choice but to work the bushes.
The Beitbridge border's closure in March when Zimbabwe went into lockdown has seen more business being directed to the Zalawis but as those regulations are eased, pedestrians will be allowed to cross once again.
Many of these jumpers say they're happy Zimbabweans will once again be able to get goods at a lower price even though they stand to lose out.
The border jumpers know that their smuggling businesses will continue the way it has as it did before lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic hit.