Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Zimbabwe and South Africa have started working on a plan to absorb increased human traffic that is expected to pass through from Beitbridge Border Post this week.
The move is informed by the events of yesterday where traffic was low for the better part of the morning and start peaking at the end of the day when news started filtering that the land borders had officially opened.
Activity at was very low at Beitbridge yesterday with only 200 people who fall outside the commercial traffic passing through between 6 am and 8 am.
This was attributed to the fact that travelers adopted a wait and see attitude.
They reportedly took a cue from a false start that saw them being turned away at the same port of entry when South Africa re-opened its borders to passenger traffic on 1 October without prior consultation with Zimbabwe.
In addition, some travellers said the Covid-19 testing fees were prohibitive and hence they we’re waiting for an alternative way with relatively cheaper prices.
Security has been tightened at all exit and entry points to the border where many people without valid or without documents at all were being turned away.
Traffic has been separated into heavy-duty vehicles, light commercial, light vehicles, buses and pedestrians.
Furthermore, hand washing basins and footbaths and automated thermometers have been put at most buildings’ entrances.
The Assistant Regional Immigration officer-in-charge of Beitbridge, Mr Nqobile Ncube said they were liaising with all the inter border agencies to maintain a seamless passage for travellers under the new normal.
“Contrary to our expectations, there was not much traffic and there are reasons why it was like this. First, the traveling public wanted to be very sure we are open and how we are handling the Covid-19 certificate component,” he said.
“I would like to think that many people wanted to make sure we’re officially opened before they may start acquiring the certificates with a 48 hours validity.
“We are hearing news from other towns that people are planning to travel from tomorrow going forward and we have been liaising with our colleagues in South Africa to ensure we are not found wanting”.