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Moneygram, Western Union Clients Struggling to Get Cash in Zimbabwe

FILE: In this Friday, July 2, 2010 picture an unidentified man shows dirty one dollar notes before washing them in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Some Zimbabweans in Bulawayo and Gwanda say they are failing to access money at Western Union and Moneygram outlets.

Several people who spoke to Studio 7 on Tuesday and Wednesday said they are being turned away or told to wait for a couple of hours to access cash saying they have run out of money.

Gwanda resident, Bekezela Maduma, who went to an outlet in the Matabeleland South provincial capital, Gwanda, told VOA Studio 7 most of the outlets, including the Post Office Savings Bank, that disburse cash to Moneygram clients are failing to give clients money.

“They were claiming that you should wait two, three hours before they could give you the money the money you wanted to pull out of Moneygram because they had to wait for people who were depositing money into the bank.

Asked what the outlets informed local people, Maduma said, “It was like they had run out of cash ... It could have been a shortage of cash and I am not sure whether that was money coming from outside or even those doing the withdrawals locally who are facing the problem.”

Interview With Bekezela Maduma on Western Union Money Issues
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Indications are that some people have been turning to local electronic cash transfer systems to beat the cash problem affecting some of the outlets.

Banker Samson Nhliziyo said money supply is now a challenge for some banks as big supermarkets are no longer banking cash.

“There are some supermarkets who no longer bank money. They use cash to buy goods and that money is not banked at all. Everyone has to play ball here because we are in the festive season. There is need for people conducting businesses to bank cash so that even these Moneygram and Western Union outlets will be able to disburse cash to clients.”

Interview With Samson Nhliziyo on Western Union Money Issues in Bulawayo And Gwanda
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The situation appears normal in some cities with reports that some clients are receiving money sent by Zimbabweans living outside the country.

Studio 7 was unable to reach Western Union and Moneygram agents for comment.