Where have the big notes gone?

12 11 2010

Chatting, in French, to my teacher at the Alliance Francaise yesterday morning when the athletic looking fellows at the next table raced off into the car park. Two shots were fired in the vague direction of the opportunists trying to break into their car. When they came back I asked why they’d missed. They replied that there are some things you don’t do in Zimbabwe these days. I had to wonder who they were that they could fire weapons in public without having to worry too much about the police asking questions.

We settled back into the conversation about Air Zimbabwe’s woes. Shelton, my professeur de Francais, doubles up as an air steward with Air Zim. The previous day a messenger of the court had arrived at the airport to affix property in the ongoing squabble over unpaid wages. The aggrieved parties have taken Air Zim to court over the unpaid wages and the airline has had to pay – some pilots were back paid between $40,000 to $60,000 and the messenger of the court was after about $500,000 worth of property. Apparently luxury vehicles “belonging” to the senior management were confiscated along with a few buses and other assets. I had to wonder if this pay-out had anything to do with the lack of $100 and $50 bills at my local bank which is the de facto bank of the nation (see a previous post some time back). Earlier last week I drew out $2,300 entirely in $20 notes. This was odd considering in the early days of US “dollarisation” the smaller notes were in very short supply and the larger 50s and 100s were easily available.

In March next year I am likely going to Austria to see what can be done about my left knee which is giving a lot of trouble. Air Zim is usually the cheapest option to the UK but I am not sure they will still be in business. The government, which has a large share in the troubled airline, is trying to offload its shares but not surprisingly there are no takers. Very surprisingly Air Zim has just purchased two new Airbus long haul aircraft. I cannot think for a moment that Airbus gave them any credit. Interesting stuff but just maybe I will be booking on SAA or BA!



One response

13 11 2010

It seems that the saga is far from over. Now there is a dispute over how much property needs to be affixed by the court so it must all be returned and the process restarted!

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