Zimbabwe has steadily been dollarising. Now, dollarisation came with the disuse of electronic channels. That’s because of the mistrust that the general population has for official banking channels. We cannot trust that our foreign currency will remain foreign currency if banked.
We have largely accepted this and are conducting ourselves accordingly. Businesses have to consider the security risks associated with holding large sums of cash on their premises.
However, the reality is that even as businesses have handled more and more cash, many businesses have not really beefed up their security.
E-commerce players have been forced to adopt a cash-on-delivery model. It is working but it has put their delivery personnel in danger. Some make sure their delivery guys have to deposit after every collection. It’s expensive to do this though and it may deplete the already thin margins they have.
That is the sad reality. It’s too costly for many to beef up their security and so they just soldier on. Hoping and praying they never become targets of robbers.
Individuals have also been taking on this risk when they bank with the National Mattress Bank. We indeed have seen a rise in home robberies as these thieves know pillows are stuffed with USD cash these days.
A Mukuru outlet was robbed
I got thinking about all this when I found out that a Mukuru outlet in Silobela was robbed.
It’s reported that six armed men robbed the outlet at around 12 midday and made off with $1800, R7800 and two cell phones. They handcuffed a cashier and security guard manning the post before ransacking the place and getting away in a Toyota Wish.
It wasn’t a lot of money that they got away with in the grand scheme of things, but a lot could have gone wrong during the heist.
No arrests have been made yet but a ZRP spokesperson has confirmed the incident.
I am relieved that no one lost their lives. I hope all workers dealing with cash are being trained not to resist any armed robbers but to comply.
How I wish we were still a cashless society
Let us be honest, none of us prefers dealing in cash. It’s dirty, it’s risky and it’s inconvenient.
The convenience factor cannot be understated. You find this out when you only have cash and need a data bundle late at night. You are forced to beg someone who has electronic money to assist.
What pisses me off about this situation is that Zimbabwe was on the path to being a cashless society. Even using foreign currency.
We were not really using traditional bank accounts, it seems banks still need to atone for what they did for Zimbabweans to fully embrace them. We had adopted mobile money instead and were happy campers.
Then came the introduction of the bond notes and an ill-conceived 1:1 peg against the USD. It has only been downhill since then. The last straw was when the govt taxed USD electronic remittances at a higher clip than local currency transactions.
The government thought this would dissuade the use of USD in favour of their ZW$. What happened instead was that people just decided to use their USD in cash.
In the end though, very few of us have any meaningful savings and so are not too worried about burglars withdrawing from their pillows. But still, I would have been more at ease with my $27 savings safe in some bank’s vault.