THE past two weeks have witnessed increased activities at all border posts as Zimbabweans based outside the country return for the festive season.
Both vehicles and human traffic, waiting to be cleared, has characterised the major borders — Beitbridge, Forbes, Nyamapanda and Chirundu. Statistics from the Immigration Department show that Beitbridge, the country’s busiest port, is clearing nearly 21 000 people daily since the beginning of the peak period — December 1.
Before then the immigration authorities were clearing about 16 000 people exiting and entering into Zimbabwe.
To speed up the processing of documentation at the borders, principal immigration officer and national spokesperson Ms Canisia Magaya said they had beefed up staff at the ports of entry and exit.
“We are clearing an average of about 3 500 travellers per day at Chirundu, 1 600 at Nyamapanda and 20 906 travellers at Beitbridge since the beginning of the peak period,” said Ms Magaya.
“In order to cater for the high volumes, normally experienced during the festive season, all forms of leave from work, that is, annual and vacation leave have been suspended to ensure expedited clearance of travellers.
“In a bid to decongest clearance halls, especially at Beitbridge, which have over the years proved to be small to handle human traffic associated with the festive season, we have set up outdoor clearance points.
“We have also separated traffic to ensure smooth flow of traffic at the ports, that is, clearing local residents and visitors separately.”
Ms Magaya said the department was also consulting their immigration counterparts on the other side of the borders to ensure smooth flow of human and vehicle traffic during the holiday. Robust compliance measures had been put in place to mitigate smuggling of undocumented people, she said.
“During this period, movement by undocumented persons and smuggling of minors is rampant as people seek to reunite with their families,” said Ms Magaya.
“To mitigate this challenge, robust compliance measures involving all stakeholders are in place to curb movement by undocumented persons across the borders and the smuggling of minors.”