Cross border transporters popularly known as oMalayitsha are reportedly smuggling corpses of Zimbabweans who are dying of coronavirus in the neighbouring South Africa into the country thereby risking more transmissions of the pandemic through goods such as groceries and clothes that they will be also carrying along with them, SentinelZim can reveal.
In a shocking video acquired by this publication, a funeral Service Company transported two bodies from South Africa to Zimbabwe with goods which included groceries and clothing. The relatives thought the goods belonged to the deceased and put everything in the grave before burial as per the tradition.
Watch video below:
In a shocking video, oMalayitsha smuggled two corpses mixed with goods including groceries and clothing from #SouthAfrica into #Zimbabwe. RT @mudzengie @rashweatm @PedzisaiRuhanya @markoshokom @tinosamk @euinZim @usembassyharare @NLinZimbabwe @MoHCCZim pic.twitter.com/2RKbbFDrfK
— TheZimbabweSentinel (@sentinelzim) July 24, 2020
The driver who was sleeping during the service woke up to discover they had put the goods inside the graves together with coffins and quickly stopped them and retrieved the goods which were already inside the graves telling stunned mourners they belonged to other people.
It is reported that the deceased had succumbed to COVID-19 in South Africa.
Speaking in audio making rounds on social media a South African man who is purportedly one of these transporters explains how the corpses are mixed with groceries and other goods no matter how small they are.
Listen to the audio below:
He alleges that wherever he has delivered goods from South Africa, a Coronavirus case will be reported in that particular family afterward.
A few weeks ago, a veteran broadcaster Ezra Tshisa Sibanda echoed the same sentiments saying Zimbabweans were smuggling corona-related corpses back into Zimbabwe.
“Disturbing news, Zimbabweans are smuggling dead bodies of their relatives to bury them back home in Zimbabwe. Someone just confirmed to me they carried their relative who died of coronavirus in South Africa to Zimbabwe and bribed soldiers guarding the illegal border crossing points,” he said. “His relative will be buried in Tsholotsho. I also discovered there are many others who do the same and it answers why there is a sudden surge of coronavirus positive cases of returnees from neighbouring states” he said
This publication has it on good authority that smuggling of goods and people travelling between these two neighbouring countries continues to occur; three months ago carried citizen video footage of border jumpers crossing through Limpopo River.
Beitbridge police has since arrested 35 people carrying an assortment of goods worth thousands of dollars which they had smuggled into the country through an illegal crossing point located less than 1km from the main port of entry.
The gang was arrested beginning of July as police intensified efforts to reduce intrusive leakages along Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa.
It is reported that the suspects who have since been charged with smuggling were carrying electrical gadgets including fridges, 275 litres of petrol, groceries and drums among other things.
The Zimbabwean government has announced an exponential rise of Covid-19 cases from returnees as well as local new infections whose contacts are unknown.
The Minister of Defence and War Veteran affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri admitted that Zimbabwean borders were porous as the military was failing to patrol border posts due to lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other essential equipment.
The issue came up in Cabinet as Ministers were discussing the effects that these porous borders are having in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and how government would stop use of illegal entrances into the country.
“To deal with our porous borders, the good news is that we received some funds to secure drones to monitor our borders, but in terms of our COVID-19 budget we had applied for 500 million but we only received 100 million, the issue of manning borders is a security issue, and treasury should prioritise this so that our army will not be tempted to compromise” she said
Despite ZWL$100 million being insufficient to fully cater for the military patrols at border posts according to Muchinguri; the Zimbabwean government has been on record of not delivering their promises.
In 2017, the late Obedingwa Mguni then deputy minister of Home Affairs announced that efforts to acquire drones that would patrol border posts were already in motion, three years later the defence minister is still scapegoating with the same narrative.
“We have implemented new technology. We are bringing in the drones that are able to fly, patrolling along the border post. We have an inter-ministerial committee which involves the ministry of Finance and other ministries like ministry of Mines. We are buying those machines so that they can fly there and we can see who is crossing so that we can search those people. Most of the drug carriers are using such areas” Mguni said