Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa has said his country will have a difficult Christmas in the wake of deep seated economic challenges.
The country is experiencing its worst inflation since 2008, which peaked to a 10 year high of 31% last month.
The health sector is in crisis with doctors on strike for close to a month, while there is critical shortage of medicines.
Commodities such as fuel, beverages and basic foods are also in short supply with many industries unable to produce due to foreign currency shortages.
At the weekend yet another outbreak of cholera claimed three lives.
In a Christmas message to Zimbabweans on Sunday, Mnangagwa said “there will be further bumps along the road”.
“I am aware that many will have a difficult Christmas. I encourage all of us to be patient, resilient and to work harder in collective unity, as we create a better, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe for all. From my family to yours, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,” he said.
Despite the bleak atmosphere, many Zimbabweans living in SA are expected to provide a Christmas cheer for relatives and friends back home.
At Beitbridge border thousands made their way home for the festive season.
Many of the travelers stocked up on groceries, mindful of the shortages of basic commodities.
“We had to buy everything in SA because we have been told shops are empty back home and the few products that are available are very expensive,” said Sharon Takundwa, a Johannesburg based waitress who returned to Harare at the weekend.
SA home affairs minister Dr Siyabonga Cwele visited Beitbridge border post on Thursday, noting the increased number of travelers due to the festive season.
In a statement released soon after the tour, Dr Cwele said over 200 000 travellers had accessed the border between December 1 and December 17, 2018.
“This number is expected to increase with Christmas and New Year periods approaching.”