Lumbidzani Dima, Chronicle Reporter
SOUTH Africa based Zimbabweans who failed to join their families back home for the Christmas festivities due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions recently announced by Government, have resorted to sending groceries to their families using omalayitsha.
Government tightened screening for Covid-19 at the country’s borders and returning residents or visitors have to be quarantined for 10 days even if they test negative to Covid-19. They have to also foot their own bills for the quarantine or self-isolation.
In Bulawayo, omalayitsha are either delivering the groceries door to door or people are collecting the groceries at Malaicha.com in the city centre.
A few omalayitsha are on the road due to the travel restrictions and are finding it difficult to cope with demand for their services.
Yesterday, a Chronicle news crew observed long queues at malaicha.com as people collected their groceries.
Malaicha.com is an online shopping platform used by Zimbabweans based in South Africa to pay for groceries in the neighbouring country and families collect goods locally.
The platform is filling the gap left by the reduction of cross border transporters.
Ms Yvonne Ngwenya who was queuing said she had come all the way from Esigodini to collect her groceries at malaicha.com.
“I arrived in Bulawayo at around 8AM and its now 10AM but I am yet to collect my groceries because the queue is not moving. I’m supposed to go back to Esigodini today,” she said.
Ms Ngwenya said her children decided to send the groceries through malaicha.com because they could not come for Christmas this year due to the travel restrictions.
“This Covid-19 has given us a challenge because my children used to come for Christmas every year.
I am however happy that they managed to send me the groceries,” she said.
Mr Unie Moyo who was also waiting to collect his groceries, said he was feeling pity for an old man who had been in the queue for a long time.
He said there was a need for senior citizens to have their own separate queue so that they do not spend long hours in the queue.
Ms Gertrude Mkandawire who had collected her groceries, said she arrived at 5am and was number 341 in the queue.
She said she collected her groceries after 10AM and commended malaicha.com for the good service.
“Malaicha.com are providing a very essential service but they should consider opening another branch in the city to reduce congestion,” said Ms Mkandawire.
Malaicha.com Bulawayo Operations manager, Mr Mohamed Hassan said they are now used to operating under pressure following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Hassan said they will consider the proposal to have a separate queue for senior citizens so that they do not spend long hours in the queue.
“We will consider this proposal to have a separate queue for those aged 60 and above but what we fear is that some individuals can abuse the elderly by sending them to collect groceries on their behalf,” he said.
Mr Hassan said they have a delivery system but it seems people prefer to collect at the branch.