Low activity as Beitbridge, Plumtree borders re-open

BEITBRIDGE and Plumtree borders re-opened as planned at 6am this Tuesday with low activity under a new set up where passenger traffic including motorists and pedestrians is now allowed passage through the port of entries.

Strict and safe covid-19 screening methods are being carried on all those leaving or entering the country.

Before the reopening of the borders to more traffic, today, Plumtree and Beitbridge were handling 5000 and 15 000 people daily.

Zimbabwe suspended passenger traffic through its borders from March to control the spread of the pandemic.

Until today, only commercial cargo, returning residents, bodies for burial and diplomatic on Government business were allowed to pass through the borders.

Today at the Beitbridge around 5am, there were very few people and security had been beefed up at all entry and exit points of the border parameter.

In addition, the use of foot baths, automated thermometers, the use of hand washing water basins , the directing of traffic into light motor vehicles, buses, light commercial and heavy-duty trucks were being strictly enforced by immigration guards and a private security company engaged by Zimra.

“Activity is still low. Our understanding is that most travellers could have adopted a wait and see attitude considering the rigorous screening processes relating to covid-19 protocols,” said one official.

A traveller who preferred not to be named said the Government should intervene on the testing fees being charged by most laboratories which are beyond the reach of ordinary people.

“US$60 is too much considering the state of the affairs at the household level. Our view as ordinary people are that these tests should be done for between US$5 and US$10,” he said.

Panashe Nkosi said the border clearing processes had greatly improved as compared to the last six years.

“It’s pleasing to note that the South African and Zimbabwean governments are taking the pandemic seriously judging by the level of preparedness on the ground.

“The border processes are excellent and seamless. It’s a great experience for me, I haven’t come home by road for the past six years,” he said.

Lucia Chidenga said she was happy to be home after almost two years to reunite with her family. 

Several cross border drivers said they were impressed with the clearance processes and the separation of traffic.

“We haven’t had unnecessary delays, we are always engaging with authorities where they are challenges and hope to maintain that relationship,” said Tawanda Takezawa who chairs the association for Beitbridge cross border drivers.

It was also all systems go at Plumtree, where officials said traffic was very low and that 15 people had crossed the border between 6 am and 8 am. ■

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