Community Reporter

As the liquidity continue to fly out of the Zimbabwean economy, many have been forced to wake up early so as to get a front position when the banks open, be that as it may, a new era has been born, unemployed youths are profiteering from the situation by selling queue positions.

For some, it is unheard of that a person without a bank account can wake up as early as 4 or 5 am to queue at a bank, but that is the situation in Harare.

What is happening is that the guys, get queue positions, and then sell them to latecomers (depositors) who would want to withdraw some cash. They are charging US$3.

One such young man in that business is Edward Gamu (27) of Chitungwiza who wakes up as early as 4 am to get the bank along 1st in Harare, waits until the bank opens at 8 am, then he approaches anyone who wants the position for a fee.

“This is now my source of income; there are no jobs so this is better than stealing. Sometimes I negotiate because some people may not have the $3 so if I get even $2 it is better than nothing. But, generally the prices are pegged at $3,” he says.

He adds that he and others in that business has resorted to be paid first before surrendering the queue number.

“When banks open they give those around cards with queue numbers. At times people may say I will pay after withdrawing the money, but, we don’t entertain that because some may disappear just after withdrawing their cash without paying us,” adds Gamu.

ZimNews caught up with another youth Langton Dudzai who is also in the same trade of selling queue positions, at Econet shop along 1st Street, were people queue up to get money from Ecocash, a money transfer platform by Econet.

Dudzai says he is making a living from it, getting about $15 or so dollars a day, as he can hold queue positions at several banks at a time. He explains how this is possible; “I get at a bank and take a position, then tell those around that I will be back and move to the next bank to get another position.

“When the bank opens, I then sell the position, and proceed to the other bank and sell my other position there again. At one time I was accused of being a queue skipper, but those who had seen me earlier confirmed that I was indeed in the queue,” he says.

As liquidity crunches take deep cut bites, some have resorted to buying front queue positions, because they know that money can be finished anytime before they could be served.

“You can be given number 150 on the queue, but usually banks say money is finished after serving only a few people, so some people end up buying front positions, than to rot at the back only to be told that money is finished,” said one lady only identified as Laina, who was in a queue at a bank near the Harare Civil Courts.

A security guard at one of the banks confirmed the existence of the practice of queue selling by some unemployed youths.

“It is true, that is happening, at this bank we used to give position numbers early, but, have since resorted to issuing queue numbers 15 minutes before the bank opens so that we make sure that only those present get the numbers.

“We did this so that we make sure that our clients are not disturbed by these bad elements, who seek to make a profit bout of the prevailing circumstances in the economy,” said the security detail who declined to be named citing professional reasons.

Getting money from the banks in Zimbabwe has been a mammoth task, and the introduction of bond notes into circulation has not done much in easing the situation. Depositors have been sleeping in queues, amid empty stomachs, and to make matters worse sometimes return home empty handed.

The central bank, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has reacted to the matter by imposing withdrawal limits to depositors. Recently, tobacco farmers at the auction floors called for the review of the limits, saying what they were allowed to withdraw was not enough. zimnews