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More frustrations for traders at Oshoek border

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By Hlengiwe Ndlovu - SWAZI OBSERVER-14-Sep-2009

TRADERS and general users of the Oshoek Border post continue to feel the pinch as the strike by the South African Revenue Services (Sars) takes more effect.

The strike began last week and protesting Sars officers have vowed that it will not end until they get their 12% salary adjustment from management. Commissioner of Customs and Excise Thamsanqa Mpanza said Sars only notified them about this strike action last Friday, despite that it had long started.

But nevertheless, he said the go-slow strike was affecting users of the Oshoek border post the most. He said the situation is also being closely monitored by the local customs department, because it affects operations both in the Swaziland and South African sides of the borders. “Traders and users of the Oshoek border post are the most affected. This is because there are a few Sars officers working at the post, and even these few are on a go-slow strike. The majority of Sars officers have boycotted work, and despite officials from Sars assuring us that they would hire part time officers who will work whilst the strike is ongoing, but this has not made matters any better.

“At other border posts, the situation is not as difficult as it is at Oshoek,” he said. Meanwhile, South African media has reported that more police and traffic officers have been deployed along the N1 near the Zimbabwe border, where about 200 protesting SARS employees marched to the entrance of the Beit Bridge border post. The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) which is negotiating on behalf of Sars employees said the move is part of the union’s strategy to intensify their industrial action of demanding salary hikes for SARS employees.

South African taxpayers have expressed mixed feelings over long queues at the Sars offices in Cape Town. Some taxpayers say more personnel must be roped in. Other offices around the country have also been affected.

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