Border traffic decline as national lockdown enforcement heightens
By Thupeyo Muleya
The volume of human traffic and light vehicles passing through Beitbridge Border Post has relatively declined with authorities fully implementing the national lockdown regulations which among other things restricts non-essential general travel.
The country moved into national lockdown level 4 on January 5, under which intercity travel, the general travel across borders is suspended, essential shop open between 8am and 3pm and there is a curfew which runs between 6pm and 6am.
As it stands only Zimbabweans resident in foreign countries and those foreigners with valid work or study permits, diplomats on Government business are allowed entry.
In terms of departures, Zimbabweans who are legally resident in foreign countries who want to return to their home countries may exit.
All these are subjected to a number of Covid-19 screening processes and those entering Zimbabwe should produce a Covid19 clearance certificate with a validity of two days.
Travellers entering South Africa are liable to produce clearance certificates with a validity period of 72 hours, while trucks drivers’ certificate must not be older than 30 days.
According to one border official who declined to be named, they are handling an average of 700 travelers daily at Beitbridge.
“This is down to the 5000 we were handling during the festive season and before the new national lockdown regulations kicked in,” said the official.
It is reported that a total of 1200 commercial trucks are passing through the Sadc and the country’s busiest in land port of entry daily.
The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) spokesperson, Mr Tendai Mugabe said they had noted a relative decline in light vehicles using the border in the last two weeks.
“We processed a total of 9100 light vehicles at Beitbridge between January 1 and January 14.
“Now we are seeing a decline, which we believe is linked to the strict enforcement of national lockdown laws. Between January 15 and January 27 we processed only 2100 light motor vehicles,” said Mr Mugabe.
Before the Covid19 pandemic, Beitbridge Border Post, would handle 15 000 travellers, 2500 light motor vehicles, 120 buses and 600 commercial trucks daily.
Commercial trucks volumes started increasing in May last year when most countries in the region started implementing lockdowns to control the spread of the pandemic leaving Zimbabwe as a transit country of choice. The Herald.