Travellers praise land borders reopening
Travellers using the Beitbridge Border Post yesterday commended the Government for lifting restrictions on non-essential travel through land borders.
A fortnight ago, the Cabinet approved the re-opening of land borders to fully vaccinated travellers.
However, the border could not immediately re-open since there was no supporting law, until last Friday when General Notice 421 of 2022 was issued by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe.
In separate interviews, citizens said the move to restrict movement at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic had helped contain the rapid spread of the disease nationwide, but now that cases are going down, the reopening of land borders is refreshing.
“I am grateful, I can now travel freely to stock products for sale from other countries by road,” said Ms Charmaine Chapo, an informal trader.
“At the peak of the lockdown, procuring goods became expensive since the few who were able to travel were charging exorbitant prices for transportation.
“You will also note that some people who were crossing borders illegally were risking their lives. It is gratifying that we can start travelling safely again via the formal crossing points”.
Another traveller, Ms Esnath Muranda, said the re-opening of land borders was a huge relief for most women who live on cross-border related businesses.
“It is also pleasing to note that the Beitbridge Border Post is being modernised to address issues of congestion that have become a perennial headache.
“In the interim, we appeal to authorities so that they may attend to efficiency issues so that we spend less time at this border,” said Ms Muranda.
A Beitbridge-based transporter Mr Lloyd Mufunga said they were looking forward to business peaking in the next few days when many people start travelling between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Acting Immigration Officer in charge of Beitbridge Border Post, Mr Trustworthy Manatsire, said: “As of between Monday (6am) and Tuesday (6am), we processed 1 879 arrivals and 935 exits, which is not out of the ordinary.
“However, we have adequately deployed enough staff which is vaccinated to enhance both efficiency and compliance issues.”
Mr Manatsire said border authorities were working in harmony with those in South Africa and that operations would be reviewed depending on the prevailing situation on the ground.
The separation of traffic into light motor vehicles, buses and commercial trucks, he said had started paying dividends.
“We are handling traffic based on its specific needs and this is key to addressing all the efficiency bottlenecks. Our hope is that things could get even better upon completion of the border modernisation project,” said Mr Manatsire.
Senator for Beitbridge, Tambudzani Mohadi, said the re-opening of land borders would not only help open the border towns’ economies but contribute to a surge in tourists’ arrival by road. Herald.