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Traffic surges at Beitbridge border post

by Staff reporter
17 Apr 2022 at 09:09hrs | Views
THE number of travellers using the Beitbridge Border has increased from an average of 3 500 to 5 000 per day after the Government lifted restrictions on non-essential travel.

A few weeks ago, Cabinet approved the opening for land borders to fully vaccinated travellers. Previously one required a PCR negative certificate to access the country's ports of entry and exit.

Under the new order, travellers with valid travel documents and fully vaccinated with the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved vaccines are eligible to travel in and out of Zimbabwe. Those who are not fully vaccinated are still required to produce a negative PCR certificate valid for not more than 48 hours to enter Zimbabwe.

For travellers entering South Africa, the PCR negative certificate should be valid for not more than 72 hours.

Beitbridge's Regional Immigration in-charge Mr Joshua Chibundu said although the traffic was gradually increasing, the situation was still manageable. He said they made enough deployment of vaccinated staff to clear traffic during the  Easter and Independence Holidays.

"The figures of people crossing the border daily has increased from an average of 3 500 to 5 000. We anticipate the figures to increase further with more people starting to comply with the new Covid-19 travel protocol," he said.

Mr Chibundu said they were also working with other security agencies in enforcing compliance to minimise crime.

Zimbabwe and South Africa have been running a joint security operation to curb crime at the border, with an average of 100 people being arrested during peak periods like weekends. The official said adjustments to operations at the port of entry and exit were being made depending on the situation on the ground.

Zimborders Consortium's chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen said recently that they were working with other stakeholders to make the flow of traffic seamless. The consortium is modernising the border at a cost of US$300 million under a 17 and half year Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession with the Government of Zimbabwe.

"The project is being carried out in three phases which include ICT, roads and New Freight terminal (Phase 1), buses terminal (Phase 2) and the light vehicles terminal and out of port works (Phase 3). Already efficiency issues are improving following the completion of Phase 1, and now we are busy on Phase 2 which will be completed at the end of June. Phase 3 will be completed in November this year," he said.

In separate interviews, travellers yesterday said the separation of traffic into buses, commercial and light motor vehicles had started paying dividends.

"We are hopeful that things will get even better when the whole project is completed. What we are seeing on the ground is exciting," said a Zambian trucker, Mr John Bulaya.

Another traveller, identified only as Mai Tino said it was pleasing to note that most motorists were now spending less time at the border under the new set up, provided they had all the necessary documents.

Source - The Sunday News