Severe trade limitations in South Africa have afflicted Zimbabwe companies amid revelations that it could take at least two months for the second largest economy in Africa to recover from the adverse impact of the widespread looting that took place two weeks ago.
South African companies are prioritising stocking their industry ahead of exports to Zimbabwe and other countries.
Zimbabwe heavily relies on imports from South Africa, which is its biggest trading partner and accounts for close to 50% imports and 65% exports.
This means the disruptions that rocked South Africa would have some ripple effects on Zimbabwe as the country solely depends on its neighbour.
The deadly protests in South Africa have negatively impacted Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries as trade was significantly disrupted affecting local industry supply chains.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Henry Ruzvidzo told Business Times that local companies will continue to feel the heat on imports as accessing raw materials from South Africa will become a challenge.
“South African companies will take eight to 10 weeks to recover and as of now they are restocking their shops, leaving less room for exporting,” Ruzvidzo said.
“And this leaves our industry dry as we depend on their raw materials to produce.
Consequently, local companies are likely to experience some shortages of products due to limited raw materials.”
Ruzvidzo said some businesses in South Africa will take two to three years to recover and this means Zimbabwe will get raw materials after the host nation has satisfied her industry.
Zimbabwe is currently facing limited foreign currency for its companies, delays in settling the auction bids and Covid-19 effects and with the inaccessibility of raw materials from South Africa the local industry will be negatively impacted.
Industrialist, Sifelani Jabangwe said various companies were experiencing some delays in bringing raw materials into the country.
“Some of us had bought raw materials three weeks ago, but we are yet to receive our goods. We expect to experience these challenges as South African industry will struggle to satisfy its market after multimillion dollars’ loss,” Jabangwe said.
He said limited working capital for the industry has escalated the challenges as various companies lack significant stocks.
The widespread looting and social unrest that came after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma is damaging business confidence and has disrupted the country’s key trade routes.
However, African Distillers’ MD Stanley Muchenje said the wines and spirit maker had enough stocks.
“Things are now as normal as ever before, we are getting our imports at the shortest possible time hence there are no disruptions at the moment,” Muchenje said.
Most of the country’s goods come through the port of Durban. Various containers were looted and burnt during the mayhem.
Various trucks from Kwazulu-Natal were torched on July 10 leading to the closure of the N3, the highway linking sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest port in Durban to the economic hub of Johannesburg.