JUST IN: Beitbridge border post traffic surges as Zimbabweans head back to South Africa File pic: Beitbridge Border Post

Thupeyo Muleya

The volume of vehicular and human traffic has surged at Beitbridge border with many Zimbabweans based in the neighbouring country have started trooping back.

It is understood that south bound (departures) traffic started increasing on 2 January as the festive season winds up.

Long moving queues of vehicles stretching for almost 2km into the border town along the major road leading to Bulawayo and Harare, have become a common feature.

Border authorities said on on Sunday that they were clearing an average of 2500 light vehicles and 150 buses going into South Africa daily.

“We have come up with a raft of measures to ensure that travelers spend the shortest possible time at the border.

“The main challenge on light vehicle is parking space on the South Africa complement of the border. You will note that most of the vehicles have been cleared for passage and we are only waiting for South Africa to create parking space for them to proceed,” said a border official.

The official said they were applying harmonised clearance system so as to avoid clogging the border with travelers and vehicles.

According to the department of immigration the volume of people who used the border post in December increased by 10, 37 percent in last year in comparison to the same period in 2017.

Over 100 000 vehicles including m private cars, haulage trucks and buses accessed both South Africa and Zimbabwe in December.

Another border source said they have cleared around 10 000 light vehicle travelling to South Africa between 1 January and 5 January.

“During off peak the border handles less than 3000 vehicles, inclusive of trucks, private cars and buses daily and rises to 6000 at its peak,” said the source.

The Assistant Regional Immigration officer-in-charge of Beitbridge (Zimbabwe) Mr Nqobile Ncube could not be reached for comment yesterday, but said recently that though the volume of traffic had increased, the situation was manageable.

“We are clear an average of 14 000 including arrivals and departures per day during off peak periods and the figure rises to 30 000 during peak periods.

“In addition, we have re-organised the border, where traffic is separated into pedestrians, motorists, buses, commercial and visitors to ensure a speedy flow of traffic,” he said.

Mr Ncube said they were also having periodic review meetings with both local (border) actors and their South African counterparts to ensure that the border was user friendly.

He said they had set the festive period between 5 December 2018 and 15 January and harmonised operations with the South Africans.

An average of 15 000 travelers inclusive of arrivals and departure are cleared daily at the border and the figures increase to 30 000 during peak periods.

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