The Herald (Harare)

9 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Beitbridge Traffic Situation Normalises

Beitbridge Bureau — The situation at Beitbridge Border Post has improved after the South African government deployed more immigration officers and opened more clearing points. By end of day yesterday normalcy had returned to the border where travellers were being expeditiously cleared on both the Zimbabwean and South African sides.

Beitbridge Border Post had turned chaotic for the past five days with the South African immigration authorities being blamed for taking a casual approach in light of the surge in both human and vehicular traffic.

South Africa had to deploy more officers and open up more clearing points on their side of the border at the intervention of the Zimbabwean Government through Home Affairs Co-Minister Kembo Mohadi.

Long winding queues of South African registered vehicles stretching for 10km on the roads leading to Harare and Bulawayo had become a common feature in Beitbridge town. Other travellers were also spending about five hours to enter South Africa through the border.

The situation had also forced the Beitbridge Town Council and local businessmen to put 50 extra dustbins around the highways leading to Bulawayo and Harare to avoid littering.

Queues of south-bound motorists which had clogged roads in Beitbridge have since vanished.

South Africa's Border Control Operation Co-ordinating Committee spokesperson Mr Patrick Moeng said yesterday that the situation had returned to normal.

"The number of people coming into South Africa has started fluctuating and the pressure has eased. Since December 17 we have been busy clearing an average of 25 000 people.

"We have opened up more clearing points and are using all the 48 computer points so that we clear the travelling public expeditiously. We cleared a total of 24 993 and 26 294 between Saturday and Sunday respectively.

"Generally the situation is under control and there is no need for the travellers to panic.

"You will also note that the speed at which we are clearing people leaving the country and those coming in is different, on the arrivals side we have to screen for criminals, those with valid and fake permits and those who have to declare some goods to our customs authority.

"In essence we have a lot of intense processes and controls on people coming into the country since we have to account for everyone. We believe by the end of the week we will be attending to the normal figure of travellers on both the arrivals and departures side," said Mr Moeng.

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