By Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
There is increased activity at Beitbridge Border Post as Zimbabweans based in South Africa are coming back home for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Long queues of vehicles and people have been forming on both sides of the border since December 5.
In addition, Dulivhadzimo Bus Terminus and several hiking spots along major roads leading to Harare and Bulawayo have been timing with hitch-hikers.
Statistics from the Immigration Department show that they are clearing an average of 30 000 travellers daily since the start of the peak period.
During the off peak period around 12 000 access the border daily, inclusive of exits and arrivals.
The Assistant Regional Immigration Officer in charge of Beitbridge Mr Nqobile Ncube said they had come up with a number of initiatives to speed up the movement of traffic through the country’s and Sadc’s busiest inland port.
He said they had harmonised operations with both the local stakeholders and the South Africa border management committees.
“The volume of both vehicles and people has been increasing since December 5, especially arrivals. We are equal to the task and we will keep reviewing our operations daily,” said Mr Ncube.
“We are clearing between 28 000 and 30 000 people daily, which is an increase from 13 000 to 14 000 travellers that we usually clear daily during the off peak period. Traffic has been separated into pedestrians, visitors, private and commercial vehicles and buses to speed up the flow of traffic.
“In addition we have deployed adequate human resources to all the key points and opened up more serving points outside the main immigration hall. We continue to liaise on cross cutting issues at all levels. We want to ensure that people spend less time at the border.”
He said they had cancelled all leave and off days to ensure that they operate with a full complement of staff during the festive season.
He said they anticipated arrivals to level out around Christmas Eve and for exits to peak soon after the New Year’s Holidays.
Mr Ncube said they had harmonised their operations with those of their South African counterparts for the period between December 5 and January 15.
“We also want to urge travellers to comply with the officers and ushers on the ground who are screening and directing them to different service points for their convenience,” he said.