Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Travellers have commended authorities at Beitbridge Border Post for embracing border efficiency management systems.
The systems have resulted in improved passage of people and goods.
The Herald understands that operations at the country’s busiest port of entry have been improving over the last three years with authorities employing a number of strategies including the separation of traffic into light vehicles, pedestrians, buses, commercial.
In addition, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) introduced the green and red routes which have enhanced the movement of goods.
Zimra has also introduced the electronic application for temporary import permits which has helped reduce the time travellers with foreign registered vehicles spend at the border.
In interviews yesterday, cross border transport operators known as Omalayitsha said where people used to spend over three hours in queues, they now take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Some travellers, especially pedestrians were taking less than five minutes to be cleared.
“I have been using the border for 10 years and most of the time crossing to either country has been very difficult because of delays in border processes.
“It is pleasing to note that some of the processes have been synchronised especially for motorists and more customs and immigration service points have been opened on both the Zimbabwean and South African side of the border,” said Mr Onias Jani.
Another traveller, Mr Godfrey Macheke of Masvingo said he was pleased with the work ethic of border authorities this year.
He said they had cleared both sides of the border in less than 40 minutes without harassment by border authorities.
“We were treated well this time. This is pleasing,” he said.
One of the women who survive on carrying luggage for people crossing into either Zimbabwe or South Africa (Mazalawi) identified only as Mai Tau, said business was brisk.
“We are happy with business that is coming our way especially from the travellers, we are getting R400 daily compared to R150 we normally get from carrying bags off peak,” she said.
Mr Mehluli Dube of Bulawayo said though Government had deployed more staff at the border for the festive season, they should consider deploying more people permanently to avoid challenges encountered during off peak hours.
A border official who preferred anonymity said authorities from Zimbabwe and South Africa have been exchanging notes on applying harmonised clearance processes to efficiently clear human and cargo traffic.
“Operations and efficiency issues are being addressed through the regular inter-border meetings, where issues come up and solutions are arrived at instantly,” said the official.
The border town of Musina was until late yesterday busy with last minute shoppers mainly those from Beitbridge and nearby towns.
Taxi drivers plying the Beitbridge (SA side) to Musina said they were happy with the numbers they have been ferrying.
There was also a lot of activity at pick up and drop off points on major roads leading to Harare and Bulawayo as people waited for transport to their respective homes.