By Thupeyo Muleya
Activity has heightened at Beitbridge Border Post with many Zimbabweans based in South Africa having started coming home for the Christmas break.
Long queues of both vehicles and people have become the order of the day at both components of the border, especially in the evening since 5 December.
In addition, Dulivhadzimo bus terminus and several hiking spots along major roads leading to Harare and Bulawayo have become alive again.
Statistics from the department of immigration show that they are clearing an average of 30 000 travellers daily since the start of the peak period.
During the off peak period around 12 000 access the border daily, inclusive of exits and arrivals.
The Assistant Regional Immigration Officer in charge of Beitbridge Mr Nqobile Ncube said they had come up with a number of initiatives to speed up the movement of traffic through the country’s and Sadc’s busiest inland port.
He said they had harmonised operations with both the local stakeholders and the South Africa border management committees.
“The volume of both vehicles and people has been increasing since December 5, especially on arrivals. We are equally prepared for the task at hand and we will keep reviewing operations daily,” said Mr Ncube.
“We are clearing an average of between 28 000 and 30 000 people daily, which is an increase from our usual 13 000 to 14 0000 travellers daily during the off peak period. Traffic has been separated into pedestrians, visitors, and private vehicles, commercial and buses to ensure a speedy flow of traffic.
“In addition to that we have deployed adequate human resources to all the key points and opened up more service points outside the main immigration hall.
“We continue to liaise on cross-cutting issues at all levels. We want to create an optimal environment for people to spend as less time as possible at the border”.
He said the immigration department had cancelled leave and off days to ensure it operates with a full strength staff during the festive season.
Mr Ncube said they anticipated arrivals to level out around Christmas Eve and peak on the exits soon after the New Year’s Holidays.
He said they had harmonised operations with their South African counterparts between December 5, 2018, and January 15next year. The Chronicle