VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has claimed that violent protests against the recent imports ban, which rocked Beitbridge last week, were incited by South Africans across the border in Musina.
Addressing the Buy Local Summit in Mutare on Thursday, Mnangagwa said the Buy Zimbabwe initiative was not peculiar to Zimbabwe.
He said countries such as the United States had laws compelling companies to buy locally-produced goods, while South African products were branded “Proudly South African”.
“A few days ago when the Ministry of Industry gazetted Statutory Instrument 64, there were some petty riots at the Beitbridge border,” Mnangagwa said.
“But the riots did not start at this side of the border, but at the South African side. The business community in Musina was saying why stop coming across to buy from us. We will collapse if you don’t buy from us. So who is important?”
He said some Musina-based businesses, which feared the impact of the statutory instrument on their operations, then triggered the riots.
“They were crying across the border. They began carrying people from across Zimbabwe saying you must spend money.
So some Zimbabweans who were asleep listened [to them], but those who were awake are here,” he said.
Mnangagwa said when the Zimdollar crashed in February 2009, the initial reaction was to contact the South Africa Reserve Bank to enable the country to use the rand as Zimbabwe’s currency.
He said the government was given a list of conditions which were difficult to implement.
“We debated the issue. We then decided that we didn’t have to ask anybody. We created a basket of currencies, we put the rand and pula without asking anybody and nobody came to ask us why,” Mnangagwa said.
“We had the rand at 40%, the United States dollar at 40%, and other currencies were at 20%. Initially, the rand and US dollar were at par (and) we moved. The rand then was going down and the dollar going up until we reached a stage where the dollar kicked out other currencies,” he said.
Turning to the controversial introduction of bond notes later this year, Mnangagwa said this would be a temporary measure to boost exports and plug leakages of the US dollar.
“We have the bond notes anchored on the $200 million facility. Bond notes cannot be taken (externalised). Even Zhing Zhong (Chinese) cannot use the bond notes, they have to bank the money. It’s a way of forcing people to bank, but we now know how much you are withdrawing,” he said.