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There is a drastic increase in motor vehicle imports through Beitbridge Border Post as dealers are rushing to buy cars in South Africa, amid speculation that Government will soon demand payment of duty in foreign currency instead of bond notes.
It is understood that the dealers went into panic mode after the announcement of the monetary policy and the introduction of a 2 percent tax on RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlements) related transactions.
Dealerships on the South African side of the border, where most pre-owned vehicles from Japan, the United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore are bought and shipped to Zimbabwe, said they have been recording brisk business since October 2.
There are over 27 dealerships selling second-hand vehicles on the South African side of the border.
The Herald is reliably informed that the vehicle import documents being processed at both Manica and Malindi transit sheds in Beitbridge have increased by 100 percent.
“A few weeks ago we used to acquit an average of 80 vehicles per day, but that has doubled to 180,” said an official from Malindi transit shed who preferred anonymity.
“We understand people are panicking because there is a rumour that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Professor Mthuli Ncube) will introduce the payment of duty in foreign currency for all vehicle imports soon.”
Border authorities also confirmed that the number of vehicle Certificates of Customs Clearance (CCC) produced per day had increased.
“We are capturing more than double the number of CCCs daily as a result of a sudden increase in vehicle imports from South Africa,” said a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) official at the border.
In separate interviews last week, the car dealers in the neighbouring country said they were now selling between 30 and 40 vehicles per day compared to five prior to the announcement of the new monetary policy.
A sales manager at one of the biggest dealers (Wright Cars), Mr Clemence Mabidi, said there was a sudden demand for cars with bigger engines such as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota Prado, Toyota Quantum, BMW, Honda CRV (RD7), Toyota Hiace, Mark X and Volvo.
“We used to sell around less than 20 vehicles per day and now sales have increased to 40,” he said.
“There is a marked increase on the demand for vehicles with bigger engines, a deviation from the previous norm where people were buying smaller (light) vehicles which are fuel savers.
“You will note that there are 27 dealers around this area and others are contemplating leaving Durban to set shop here. As a result of the demand we have also increased our prices, but still the cars are selling like hot cakes.
“For instance, we used to sell a Honda Fit for $1 800. The same car now costs $2 300. Those with bigger engines are being sold between $8 000 and $10 000.”
Mr Mabidi said even the small car dealers who used to sell between five and 10 cars per day were now selling up to 20 vehicles.
Major car dealers at the South African border include Quest Royal, Wright Cars, Car Cade, Murree Motors, Noble Motors and KDG.