Banks were open in the morning but there was little activity as most clients had withdrawn their money by Friday in time for travelling for the holidays.
Earlier in the week, banks were overwhelmed with some branches running out of cash as thousands of people jostled to withdraw their monthly salaries and bonuses before last Thursday’s Unity Day public holiday.
A ZB Bank employee who requested anonymity said the bank’s branches had adequate cash to meet demand.
“Most of the branches in Harare today have enough cash. As a matter of fact there are not that many people in the banking halls right now,” he said.
Police mounted roadblocks at various points in the city in a bid to prevent commuter omnibuses from causing further mayhem in the central business district.
A snap survey by The Standard revealed that by mid-afternoon yesterday only a few people could be seen trickling into the city fortheir last-minute shopping.
Mbare Musika long distance bus terminus was unusually quiet with transport readily available.
“I only managed to access my money this morning from the bank. I was disappointed because I could have travelled earlier but otherwise I’m looking forward to a safe journey and a joyous holiday,” said Dominic Mazarire, who was about to travel to Bulawayo.
Fares were hiked nominally as public transport operators sought to cash in on the festive season. Bus fare from Harare to Bulawayo were, on average pegged at US$19, compared to the normal charge of US$13.
Meanwhile, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Rosemary Siyachitema lambasted the banking sector for failing to plan for the anticipated increased demand for cash towards the festive season.
“The banking sector must sit down and take a look at themselves,” said Siyachitema. “They knew that the festive season was approaching so they should have made adequate preparations to cater for the increased demand.”