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Beitbridge border post queues stretching for more than 2 kms

by Staff reporter
07 Jan 2019 at 08:34hrs | Views
The volume of vehicles and people passing through Beitbridge border post to South Africa has started increasing as Zimbabweans who had come back home for the holidays are returning to base.

Over the past few days, long queues of vehicles stretching for almost two kilometres into the border town along the major road leading to Bulawayo and Harare, have become a common feature. South Africa-bound traffic started increasing on January 2 as the festive season closed. Border authorities said yesterday that they were clearing an average of 2 500 light vehicles and 150 buses going into South Africa daily.

"We have come up with a raft of measures to ensure that travellers spend the shortest possible time at the border. "The main challenge on light vehicle is parking space on the South Africa side of the border. You will note that most of the vehicles have been cleared for passage and we are only waiting for our South African counterparts to create parking space for them to proceed," said a border official. The official said they had adopted a harmonised clearance system to avoid clogging the border with people and vehicles. According to the department of immigration the volume of people who used the border post in December increased by 10, 37 percent last year compared to the same period in 2017.

Our Harare Bureau was also reliably informed that over 100 000 vehicles including private cars, haulage trucks and buses accessed both South Africa and Zimbabwe in December. Another source at the port said they cleared around 10 000 light vehicle travelling to South Africa between January 1 and last Saturday.

"During off-peak the border handles less than 3 000 vehicles, inclusive of trucks, private cars and buses daily and rises to 6 000 at its peak," said the source.

The Assistant Regional Immigration officer-in-charge of Beitbridge (Zimbabwe) Mr Nqobile Ncube could not be reached for comment yesterday. Before the holiday Mr Ncube had indicated that though the volume of traffic had increased, the situation was manageable.

"We clear an average of 14 000 including arrivals and departures per day during off peak periods and the figure rises to 30 000 during peak periods. In addition, we have re-organised the border, where traffic is separated into pedestrians, motorists, buses, commercial and visitors to ensure a speedy flow of traffic," he said.

Mr Ncube said they were also having periodic review meetings with both local (border) actors and their South African counterparts to ensure that the border was user friendly. He said they had set the festive period between December 5, 2018 and January 15 and harmonised operations with the South Africans.

An average of 15 000 travellers inclusive of arrivals and departure are cleared daily at the border and the figures increase to 30 000 during peak periods.

Source - chronicle