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Travellers overwhelm Beitbridge again

by Staff reporter
01 Jan 2021 at 07:50hrs | Views
TRAVELLERS returning to their bases in South Africa have once again overwhelmed Beitbridge Border Post and the situation has been made worse by reduced border operating hours as Zimbabwe and South Africa started enforcing curfews in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Officials had earlier during the Christmas period relaxed closing times to accommodate travellers.

The Beitbridge Border Post closes to the public at 10pm and opens at 6am when thousands of people wishing to return to SA will have formed long queues.

"We have to adhere to the strict curfew times imposed against COVID-19. After 10pm only essential traffic is allowed through and in this case haulage trucks for which the border has remained open throughout," a senior immigration officer at Beitbridge said.

"You will note that we have only been open to private motorists and still been under pressure. We have to give room to health officials to go through the protocols demanded by the new normal," the official said.

Although in the past, border formalities demanded only Customs and Excise and immigration formalities now health departments play a major role in the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.

Travellers returning to SA have been experiencing difficult times after the border closes with some saying they have problems standing queues for a long time and those with young children struggling to keep under control.

"It has never been comfortable sleeping in a car seated. It's most difficult for children and the heat in Beitbridge is making it worse," said Adrian Moyo who was travelling to Mpumalanga.

"They could have considered relaxing the hours for travellers, this COVID-19 is not anyone’s making and cautious as we may be we have to consider each other," he said.

Another motorist complained about the disorderly behaviour of truckers and felt there was need for separation of vehicles as they approached the border.

Congestions have been the order of the day during the entire festive season and at times Beitbridge Residents have failed to access their homes blocked by vehicles in transit.

"This calls for proper planning because it occurs every holiday," Tapson Ndou of Beitbridge said.

Source - newsday

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