Wednesday, 18 December 2019

BEITBRIDGE BUZZING AS ZIMBAS FLOCK BACK


THE Beitbridge Border Post has been turned into a hive of activity with thousands of Zimbabweans based in South Africa arriving home for festive season.

Statistics from the Department of Immigration show that an average of 21 000 travellers inclusive of arrival and departures is being cleared at the border post daily.

Long queues of both vehicles and people have become the order of the day at the arrivals’ sections especially in the evening since December 14.

Immigration and customs authorities from both countries have indicated that they are ready to process the travellers.

Chronicle understands that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has deployed 80 more officers from less busy stations to Beitbridge.

Further, border authorities from both countries have categorised traffic into commercial, motorists, buses and pedestrians while more clearing points have been opened to avoid crowding at the border.

It is also reported that the South Africans have also beefed up their manpower to enhance efficiency in the movement of both human and vehicular traffic. 

The Assistant Regional Immigration officer in charge of Beitbridge, Mr Nqobile Ncube said harmonised operations with their South African counterparts will help in the speedy processing of travellers. “We have harmonised operations as border stakeholders together with South Africa to enhance a speedy flow of traffic between December 4 2019 and January 13 2020,” said Mr Ncube.

“We are building from the successes of the last festive season and this time will implement the following measures; all off and leave cancelled for border worker, collapsed four shifts into three to enhance manpower and will also utilise outside clearing points in conjunction with separating traffic into buses, light, heavy and pedestrians. In terms of human traffic, we have been clearing an average of 16 000 in the off-peak period and now we are handling close to 21 000 daily.”

The official said they have also adopted a zero tolerance on touts, conmen, wheeler dealers, vendors and other criminals who cause unnecessary congestion of human traffic within the border post.

In a statement, South Africa’s Home Affairs Department said they have extended working hours at some ports of entry and deployed 400 more workers to all busy borders including Beitbridge border post. “We implore travellers leaving and entering South Africa to ensure that all their travel documents area in order to avoid unnecessary delays at ports.

“These include valid passports, visas, health certificates, permits for specified goods, plants and animals and vehicle insurance and bank authorised cross-border documents for vehicles,” said the organisation. The South African Police Services (SAPS) has increased their staff with 80 more workers while customs have deployed 86 more revenue officers to its borders.” Chronicle

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