A bid to block Zimbabwe and South Africa’s border by the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) yesterday hit a brick wall after their request to protest inside the border area was turned down by security authorities from the two countries.
It is understood that the group had planned to bring business to a standstill at Sadc’s busiest inland port of entry. Security officials from both countries were on high alert yesterday.
“The border post is not a social place. We don’t expect people to do as they please,” said a security source from South Africa.
The South African trade union, its handlers and some Zimbabwean elements based in that country, including the Communist Party, were forced to hold their demo on a road leading to South African border workers’ residential compound.
The place is located 500 metres from the port of entry.
A total of 76 people who were bused from Polokwane in two Iveco minibuses were seen picketing to save face with a few banners and red t-shirts.
They were under strict monitoring by the police who warned them against blocking the border post or the N1 highway, which connects South Africa with the rest of Sadc.
When our news crew arrived on the South African side of the border, there was a heavy presence of security and it was business as usual. Some of the disappointed demonstrators ended up being tourists, taking turns to take pictures on the Alfred Beit Bridge.
Mr Nqabutho Mabhena of the of the Zimbabwe Communist Party and Cosatu’s provincial chairperson Mr Essop Mokgonyana addressed the paltry crowd, where they said they were acting in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe could not be reached for comment yesterday. Immigration authorities from both countries described the situation as business as usual. The protesters who marched for 12km from Musina town were barred from entering Zimbabwe by South African police.HERALD