Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Swine flu in Zimbabwe: "We can handle it."

When you arrive at Beitbridge from South Africa you are overwhelmed by touts.

Aggressive young men in their twenties who swarm around you and solicit bribes in order for you to proceed through the formalities. The touts control the speed and progress of everything: the queues, the forms, the stamps and signatures, the customs inspections and the final scrap of paper, the gate pass, that allows you get through the boom and into Zimbabwe. Both of the travellers I spoke to said they simply found it impossible to proceed without giving in to the demands for bribes. Every time they got near the counters in the border post the touts and their customers would push in ahead of them with great piles of papers and none of the officials on duty were interested in intervening, not immigration, security, customs or tax collectors. Touts appeared to be making an average of 500 Rand, or 50 US dollars per customer - half the month's pay of a trained teacher in Zimbabwe.

SHOOT: Lawlessness in South Africa and Zimbabwe is growing. The fabric of society is becoming corrupt to its core.
clipped from
Swine flu has officially arrived in Zimbabwe. A ZBC TV news bulletin this week reported that there were a number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Mutare. The report said that people should not panic because hospitals were prepared, staff had been trained and information would soon be disseminated to private practitioners.
The toilets at the border are apparently a swamp, there is no toilet paper, no towels and no way at all to keep yourself clean. Everyone waits till they are through the border and then pull up on the roadside and relieve themselves in the bush. If we are to believe ZBC, it is into this madness of Beitbridge border post that there is going to be swine flu detection and control. Pardon the pun, but pigs might fly!
Zimbabwe's unity government has been in place for six months but it is still the thieves, con-men, blackmailers and bullies that are manning the entry points into our country.
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