Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

SA borders brace for festive season rush

By Nqobile Tshili

The South African Government has increased manpower at its border posts, including the Beitbridge Border Post it shares with Zimbabwe, in anticipation of increased traffic during the festive season.

Delays reported at Beitbridge Border Post (Picture via Povo Zim twitter handle)
Beitbridge Border Post (Picture via Povo Zim twitter handle)

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs revealed that it has deployed 450 additional employees at its various border posts for efficient services.

According to the country’s Home Affairs Department, more than 8 million people move through South Africa’s borders during the festive season with the Beitbridge Border Post being the second busiest with more than 700 000 travellers processed at the port.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has also revealed that it has deployed more clearing agents to the country’s busiest entry points to ease the burden for most travellers.

The Beitbridge Border Post is the country’s largest entry port. The South African Home Affairs Department said the increase in deployment of staff runs effectively from December 5 to January 9.

“Operational hours will be extended for busy ports of entry, covering pre-festive season movements, the festive season period and the re-opening of schools. The Department of Home Affairs will deploy 425 additional staff at busiest ports,” reads a statement from the department.

“In the 2017/18 festive season, a total of 8 468 262 movements was captured, comprising arrivals and departures of citizens and foreigners. Of these, 2 304 449 were citizens’ movements and 6 163 813 were foreigners’ movements. The highest arrivals from the Sadc region were from Lesotho, at 758 519, followed by Zimbabwe (712 688), Mozambique (398 684), Swaziland (306 682) and Botswana (256 793. The rest of travellers were international tourists.”

The Home Affairs Department liaised with its neighbouring countries about its programme.The department said it was on high alert over crimes associated with festive season travelling.

“As in previous years, stakeholders at ports of entry, and partners from neighbouring countries, have agreed to a comprehensive operational plan in order to support facilitation of movement in this period – 5 December 2018 to 9 January 2019,” reads the statement.

“Security dynamics and risks during peak periods include fraudulent documents, undocumented travellers and poor access control due to congested roads, hence we plan meticulously for ports and borderline activities with other law enforcement agencies.” The Chronicle