The volume of traffic at Beitbridge Border has this year increased significantly due to the new and more efficient traffic flow systems and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions by Government.
Previously, the border was only open to essential travel, commercial cargo drivers, funeral parlours repatriating bodies burial, returning residents and diplomats provided they had PCR negative test results in addition to having valid passports.
As it stands, all travellers are required to have been fully vaccinated for the Covid-19 and have valid travel documents.
It is also understood that the transformation of the border, which came with three terminals — commercial, bus and light vehicles and pedestrians — has started attracting human and vehicular traffic that had previously diverted to other ports on the Botswana or Mozambique borders.
Figures from the Department of Immigration show that an average of 20 000 travellers are being processed at Africa’s busiest land border post, daily.
This is an increase from the usual off peak of 9 000 people.
A total of 200 buses and 2 000 light vehicles are passing through the border compared to the usual 100 buses and 1 100 cars daily.
The volume of commercial trucks remains unchanged at 900 daily.
The Regional Immigration officer (RIO) in-charge of Beitbridge, Mr Joshua Chibundu said although they had cleared a lot of seasonal traffic, the pressure was minimal since they are working under a new set up.
“In December last year we processed a total of 94 603 arrivals and 30 209 departures, while this year we handled 245 026 entries and 154 318 exits,” he said.
“You will note that last year, Covid-19 regulations restricted non-essential movement and now that the rules have been adjusted, we are getting back to our usual figures”.
He said they cleared the bulky of human and vehicular traffic on Christmas Eve and that they were now ready to handle an anticipated increase on the exit side up to the second week of January.
Mr Chibundu said at the moment they were handling very low traffic.
He said deployments had been adequately made by most border agencies to enhance a seamless flow of traffic and to minimise criminal activities within and around the border.
“As we wind up the festive season, travellers are assured of ease passage across the border. Let me reiterate that as the Department of Immigration, we do not have agents and as such travellers should not be arm-twisted by touts in or around the border,” said Mr Chibundu.
“Travellers are warned of falling prey to people who use fake stamps, instead each traveller is expected to present him or herself to Immigration counters for clearance.
We remain prepared for clearing the increased volumes of travellers returning to South Africa after the holiday in Zimbabwe”.
Previously human interface and limited infrastructure has been attributed as the main cause for long delays during peak periods at the port of entry and exit.
Government and the Zimborders Consortium have completed upgrading the border post at a cost of US$300 million under a Build Operate and Transfer partnership to last for just under 18 years.
The project also has other major out of port components including the construction of 220 staff houses, 11,4 mega litres water reservoir, new sewer oxidation dam, an animal plant and quarantine centre, among others.