Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
ILLEGAL money changers are back in the streets occupying their usual spots in Bulawayo’s central business district (CBD) in total defiance of lockdown regulations.
President Mnangagwa extended the national lockdown by a further two weeks on May 1.
In extending the national lockdown, the President allowed industry and commerce players to commence operations as Government balances on combating Covid-19 and allowing economic activities to continue.
The opening up of industry and commerce has seen more illegal money changers coming back to the streets some of them reoccupying their usual spots that include the vicinity of Tredgold Building, Leopold Takawira Street opposite TelOne Building while others are operating from Jason Moyo Street opposite Edgars.
Some of the illegal money changers are operating from Fort Street at the corner of 10th Avenue while others have taken base between 10th and 11th Avenue along George Silundika Street among other known spots.
While some of the money changers have tried to covertly conduct their operations by trading in cars, others are parading that they are back in business.
A video of an illegal money changer last week went viral as he bragged that he was back in business while displaying new notes suggesting that he had recently acquired them from a bank.
This prompted Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to react to his post and offer a reward to anyone who helps in identifying the culprit.
Members of the public seem to prefer the higher rates offered by the illegal money changers as opposed to the rate in the formal market.
In Bulawayo yesterday the cross rate was at US$1:43 for electronic transfers while US$1:32 was for those changing using hard cash.
The official cross rate is US1:25 and the rate seems not to be attractive to members of the public who opt to change hard currency with the illegal money changers.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said cops are conducting patrols and spot checks for anyone violating lockdown regulations.
So far more than 5 000 people have been arrested for violating lockdown regulations in Bulawayo.
“As police we are on the ground to ensure that everyone observes lockdown regulations. We are conducting raids and spot checks and if we find anyone violating regulations through loitering in the city centre we will arrest them. This includes the illegal money changers,” said Insp Ncube.
“Those who are supposed to stay at home should stay at home in line with Covid-19 prevention measures. Citizens should be responsible and complement Government and national leaders in preventing the spread of Covid-19.”
He said any car owner who is found parked in the CBD will be arrested if they fail to justify their being in town and pay fines of between $200 and 500 depending on the nature of the [email protected]