Police have arrested seven traders who rejected bond notes and coins, which remain legal tender, and are ready to arrest anyone else reported for rejecting this legal cash.
The blitz comes after some people started rejecting bond notes and coins due to fake news circulating on social media platforms that they would be demonetised.
In a statement yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi urged members of the public to report any person, trader or institution rejecting bond notes. Police had so far arrested seven suspects in Harare and they were expected to appear in court soon.
“The ZRP will ensure that all laws meant to protect the public and promote the effective maintenance of law and order in the country are enforced without fear or favour,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa recently said traders were legally obliged to accept bond notes and coins.
“Government notes with concern that there are some sections of the market that are rejecting bond notes and coins,” she said.
“Notes inscribed ‘bond notes’ are being rejected in preference for those inscribed ‘dollars’.”
She too stressed they were still legal tender and no one was planning their demonetisation.
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) this week also threatened to stop supplying their products to wholesalers and shops refusing bond notes and coins.
Members of the association produce and pack maize-meal, self-raising flour, salt, rice, sugar beans and soya chunks which are critical for sustaining food security at household level.
The millers will be partnering the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) to stop the practice.
Under normal circumstances, when cash is deposited in banks fairly frequently, banks remove worn and soiled notes and send them to the Reserve Bank for destruction. This in that normal system would see older notes, such as the bond notes, gradually being moved out of circulation.
Traders eager to accept all payment types, and who readily accept bond notes, have noted that at times people tender such badly creased and soiled notes that it is difficult to make sure that they are genuine. But this is a problem with all currency notes
When notes or coins are demonetised, notice has to be given in the Government Gazette and a reasonable time is always given for the holders to bank these or exchange them at banks while they are still valid and can be spent in shops, and in a set time after demonetisation.