Nqobile Tshili and Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporters
PLUMTREE Border Post started operating round the clock on Friday to accommodate travellers during the festive season as the volumes have increased by 42 percent since Monday.
Normally the border post shuts down at 10pm daily.
In an interview on Friday, Assistant Regional Immigration Officer Mr Terence Njagu said in anticipation of increased traffic volumes, the border will operate for 24 hours up to tomorrow.
“Generally, from the beginning of the month, traffic has been low. However, as soon as schools closed, traffic has increased and has been increasing each and every day. I think beginning this week, there was a 42 percent increase from the normal traffic that we were handling a week before,” said Mr Njagu. “Most of the people work in industries, some in farms so word going on is that, most of them, are closing today, others closed yesterday, so we anticipate increased flows of traffic. Averagely, we have 1 500 exits and 1 400 entries daily. Now we are clearing up to between 2 900 and 3,600 a day.”
He said two weeks ago the traffic flows stood at 28 000 at Mphoengs and Mulambaphele, the entry points that fall under Plumtree Border Post but last week the statistics jumped to 41 148.
Mr Njagu said immigration has beefed up staff and suspended staff holidays to efficiently deal with increased volumes. “We have instituted a 24-hour shift from today until the 24th of December. Basically, we open the border at 6am, it will be opened continuously up to Christmas Day at 10 pm. So, from today until Christmas Day there will be continuous clearance of people. This is meant to create time for our travelling public at any given time they want to pass through the border during that time, they will be served. It eases pressure, it eases congestion and we ensure that everyone who is coming to Zimbabwe is served quickly and they enjoy their holidays,” said Mr Njagu.
He said the traveling public should not expect hurdles from departments working from the border as they were working as a team to facilitate their smooth travelling. — @nqotshili @andile_tshuma