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The anti-foreigner riots in South Africa are damaging the businesses of Mozambican informal traders, and could lead to shortages in the markets of Maputo, reports the independent television station, STV.
The informal traders (known as “mukheristas”) cross the border regularly and bring South African produce, mostly vegetables and fruit, back to Mozambique, notably to the country’s largest wholesale market, in the outlying Maputo neighbourhood of Zimpeto.
“Now we’re afraid to go to South Africa, because they are banning vehicles of foreigners from circulating”, one trader at Zimpeto, Samuel Mulangane, told STV. “There will be a shortage of goods and those who still have them will increase the prices”.
Some traders, however, are now opting to buy goods directly from South African farms rather than from markets in the cities. “The situation on the farms is better”, trader Julia Ines said. “The problem is in the cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria. Buying products in the cities, which is what a lot of us do, is a problem, because there’s a lot of confusion”.
The chairperson of the Association of Mukheristas, Sudecar Novela, urged the Mozambican and South African governments to meet and try to find a definitive solution to the current wave of violence.
So far no Mozambican trader had fallen victim to the riots, said Novela, but his association was urging its members not to visit South African cities while the current tensions persist.
Hundreds of Mozambicans who lost their homes in rioting in Johannesburg have requested voluntary repatriation – but are finding this difficult because they do not have travel documents.
According to a report in the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the South African and Mozambican authorities worked throughout Tuesday to register those affected so that they can travel to the temporary accommodation centre that the Mozambican government has set up in Moamba district, about 60 kilometres north of Maputo.
Augusta Maita, the general director of the Mozambican relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC), which will receive and care for those repatriated, was optimistic that the bureaucratic hurdles could be overcome to allow the Mozambicans to return as from Wednesday.Source: AIM