A total of 32 138 travellers, mostly South Africans, Zambians, Malawians, Mozambicans, and Zimbabweans, used the border post between January 1 and 7. These include 7 887 arrivals and 24 251 departures.
The Government has cleared up congestion at Beitbridge border posts where travellers were experiencing long delays to leave or enter the country and also deployed more security personnel to deal with criminal activity along the boundary with South Africa, a Cabinet minister has said.
In an interview yesterday, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said a raft of measures had been implemented to address challenges at the border.
He said law enforcement agents will deal ruthlessly with those caught on the wrong side of the law. It is understood that the state is losing at least US$1 billion annually in potential import duty due to smuggling activities along the Limpopo River.
The minister said border officials from Zimbabwe and South Africa worked together to expeditiously clear the increased volume of both vehicles and human trafficking that is synonymous with the festive season.
He said last month he met his counterpart from South Africa, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and agreed on a number of measures and areas of mutual cooperation to minimise bottlenecks at the border.
“Government officials have been to the border on a number of occasions to assess the situation with a view to troubleshooting challenges.
“We then had a meeting with our counterparts in Musina a month ago, where we agreed on a number of measures to deal with the anticipated numbers of people given the Covid-19 situation which is currently obtaining on the ground,” said Minister Kazembe.
He said following the two ministers’ engagements, cooperation was amplified through an integrated border management system. “Our officials have been working together and I have been in constant communication with my counterpart, monitoring and addressing the challenges,” said the Minister.
He said the National Covid-19 Taskforce was seized with the matter concerning the seamless and safe movement of travellers across the country’s borders. The minister said challenges affecting most ports of entry, including Beitbridge, were being addressed and managed by multiple stakeholders.
He said the Government will continue applying a multi-stakeholders’ approach to enhancing the ease of doing business at the borders, while at the same time ensuring the safety of all travellers.Beitbridge Border Post
“With regards to the illegal border crossing, the Government has always seized with the matter and you will recall that members of the National Security Council visited the border on December 11 and toured all the undesignated crossing points. A decision was then made, hence the deployment of more security and technologies”, said Minister Kazembe.
He warned border jumpers, smugglers and other wheeler-dealers that the security team was ready to deal with them within the confines of the law.
The Minister said the Government will not tolerate crime along its borders and that there will be no sacred cows. He said it was important for travellers to obtain the necessary documents before embarking on their journeys to avoid unnecessary inconveniences.
“People are also warned against producing, issuing or using fake Covid-19 certificates. There will be zero tolerance for corruption. Members of the public are urged to report any form of corruption,” said the Cabinet Minister.