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Forex dealers desert Bulawayo streets

THE fall of the South African rand against the United Sates dollar has left Bulawayo’s streets virtually deserted after scores of illegal money traders stayed away, citing low business.

BY MUSA DUBE

The rand has been weakening over the past few months to R10 per US dollar from R8 per US dollar.

The streets of Bulawayo used to be congested with the illegal money changers who had for years occupied every street corner while carrying out their business.

Sibusiso Ndlovu, an illegal money dealer operating at the corner of Fort Street and Leopold Takawira Avenue, said business had drastically gone down as less people were coming to exchange or buy the foreign currencies.

“Business has gone low ever since the US dollar firmed against the rand in the past months. When the rand was trading at US$1:R8, many people would come to exchange the rand to dollar or vise-versa. But since the rand is trading at 1:10, many people are no longer exchanging it because shops or government departments are trading using the same rate,” she said.

Ndlovu added: “A few months back when the rand was trading at US$1:R8, government departments were using the US$1:R10 rate. So if one had R500 and wanted to pay for example a passport processing fee which was going for US$53, one would change the rand to the US dollars and get a few extra dollars,” she explained.

“But nowadays with the prevailing rate, if one has R500 it’s as good as having US$50. So there is no sense to change the money and unfortunately, this has put us out of business,” lamented Ndlovu.

She said that many of her colleagues had since left the business to try other avenues.

“We used to be many here but they are all gone. There is no business anymore,” she said with wades of banknotes of different currencies firmly clutched in her hand.

 

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