Musina Business is facing closure without its Zimbabwean customers. The economic sustainability of Musina businesses has taken a massive beating during the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown. Musina’s business survival is largely dependent on Zimbabwean customers. Before the lockdown business was booming as most Zimbabweans bought most of the goods from Musina.
However, shop owners in Musina say the lockdown has practically destroyed their businesses, as there are no customers to buy their goods.
“We are struggling because business is bad right now because of the coronavirus. Most of our customers from Zimbabwe are not able to come and buy anymore, so we lose half of the customers,” said Rana Masut, who owns a shop in the small town of Musina.”
Masut said that due to the closure of international borders as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, his income has dropped drastically from R6 000 per day to just about R1 000 on a good day.
Another shop owner, Shohel Rana said that Zimbabwean and Zambians constituted a large portion of their customer base and without them, their business was good as dead.
“Most of our customers come from Zimbabwe and Zambia so we cannot survive without them, otherwise we close the shop and move on. You can see for yourself that we have stock, but we do not have customers, so I don’t know how I am going to pay rent this month. This lockdown has been the worst for my business, and I might have to think about closing down if things do not change.”
Another businessman, Hermanus Schoeman said that the effects of lockdown were affecting their livelihood and crippling the economy.
“You must understand that 50% of the local buying market is from Zimbabwe…As I speak to you right now, I have lost bookings worth R20 million from international tourists who want to come and hunt game here” said Schoeman.
Zimbabwean migrant workers in Musina are also suffering as they are failing to make ends meet. Webster Mdlongwa, who works as a shop assistant at one of the retail shops in Musina says that the lockdown is negatively affecting their livelihood, and prospects of finding a job elsewhere are fruitless.
“Food, groceries, winter blankets, and clothing were the most sought after items. They buy everything here in Musina, so you can imagine what the lockdown has done. I might be unemployed again if the lockdown continues, after struggling to find a job since I matriculated three years ago,” said Mdlongwa>chaosafrica