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80 border jumpers arrested daily

by Staff reporter
23 Aug 2021 at 05:49hrs | Views
ABOUT 80 border jumpers are arrested daily at Beitbridge Border Post as the Department of Immigration working with other border agencies is tightening screws to minimise cases of illegal migration between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The border authorities are increasing surveillance and screening of travellers. Cases of illegal migration have become rife, especially at the main border and several illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River, whose riverbed is dry, making it easier for smugglers and border jumpers to navigate. During the rainy season, the water becomes a natural barrier to the illegal movement of people and goods.

Statistics from the Department of Immigration show that an average of 80 people are intercepted daily while attempting to illegally cross the border.

In addition, at least 10 people are refused entry into Zimbabwe, while four are stopped from entering South Africa on a daily basis for failure to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

The assistant regional Immigration officer-in-charge of Beitbridge (Zimbabwe), Mr Nqobile Ncube said there were a number of compliance and enforcement operations on the ground. "In June and July, we intercepted 214 and 226 illegal migrants respectively and also refused entry to 218 people in those two months," he said.

"A total of 190 were also refused entry into South Africa for violating Covid-19 regulations governing the movement of people across the borders."

Mr Ncube said among those refused entry into Zimbabwe were citizens from Australia, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, DRC, Britain, Israel, Mozambique, Rwanda, India, Denmark and Malawi among others. He said those intercepted for border jumping are prosecuted. Mr Ncube said between August 18 and 21 they arrested 299 migrants during a joint operation with the police.

"These have been handed over to the police for further management. Our enforcement and compliance team is on the ground every day, focusing on all specific red zones that we have established," said Mr Ncube.

When the country started implementing Covid-19 protocols, passenger traffic through the border was suspended, leaving only commercial cargo, returning residents, bodies for burial and diplomats on Government business being allowed to use the land borders. This has resulted in an increase of people using illegal crossing points to enter and leave the country.

To minimise the smuggling of the coronavirus across the border security was tightened to enforce compliance. However, the migrants keep shifting the crossing points forcing the Government to introduce helicopter patrols along the Limpopo River. Some of the known illegal crossing points near the main border post include the Spillway and Dulivhadzimu gorge.

Human and child smuggling is common at Beitbridge during periods like the Easter holidays and the December Festive Season.

Source - chronicle