Scores turned away at Beitbridge border

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
HORDES of people were yesterday turned away at the Beitbridge Border Post through which they had intended to travel to South Africa following false reports that the port of entry had opened for general human travel.

South Africa opened 18 land borders including Beitbridge and three airports as the neighbouring country moved to alert level one.

However, Zimbabwe is yet to open its land borders to general human traffic.

Zimbabwe and South Africa had closed borders to all but commercial cargo, returning residents and human remains being repatriated for burial in the country, following the outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in March.

According to Home Affairs, Culture, and Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, the land borders are still closed to general human traffic.

There has been a hype about the border reopening in the last few weeks and by midnight on Wednesday, some people had arrived at the border on the Zimbabwean side intending to cross into the neighbouring country.

They were turned away by border officials during screening.

“I was not aware that the border is still closed to ordinary travellers. I intended to travel to Western Cape to visit my daughter who is not well when I was informed of the current position. So, I am going back to Mberengwa until things return to normal at the border,” said Ms Sibongile Ncube

Ten other people who wanted to enter in three vehicles from South Africa were turned away by Zimbabwean officials.

The trend continued until around 9AM when word had spread that general human travel was still suspended.

Besides people being turned away there was a slow movement of commercial cargo leaving the country with the South Africans demanding Covid-19 clearance certificates from commercial truck drivers in line with the new regulations.

Under the new Standard Operations Procedures (SOP), truck drivers, crew members, and frequent travellers will have to produce Covid-19 test results.

The results will be valid for 14 days after the first movement and all positive truck drivers will be handled as per the Department of Health Guidelines.

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