Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Njabulo Nzuza says they have requested their Zimbabwean counterparts to increase the number of trucks allowed to cross to Zimbabwe through the Beitbridge Border Post per day.
He says this will ease congestion at the border post. Nzuza was at the border post observing today’s reopening of the border.
Beitbridge and other land posts were closed to curb the spread of coronavirus last month.
Nzuza says the number of trucks crossing into Zimbabwe has increased from 200 to 400 per day following their intervention. “We have noted the load of trucks that are coming through from our side to the Zimbabwean side. The congestion is mainly caused by the construction that is happening on the Zimbabwean side. Normally, we process 600 trucks in a day but now we can’t because of the Zimbabwean authorities. They were initially taking about 200 but we have through our negotiations now increased their numbers, they are taking just above 400.”
Trucks crossing into Zimbabwean from South Africa’s side have been forming long queues since last week at Beitbridge.
Long queues of trucks crossing into Zimbabwe from South Africa remain a challenge at the Beitbridge border post in Musina.
The Zimbabwean authorities have decreased the number of trucks crossing to their side due to the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.
Nzuza says health testing facilities have been increased. “Today we were anticipating that they won’t be too much movement because the Zimbabwean side of the border for the movement of people is not yet opened. We are anticipating that people are going to start coming through from Zimbabwe tomorrow. We have to make sure that we increase testing facilities from the department of health. We even now have private contractors who are helping the department of health.”
A hawker at the border says he is grateful for the reopening of the borders as it will boost their business.
“We for the kitchens, we are going to have more clients. The situation now is to be changing because some other people from Zimbabwe are now coming and we are going to have some more business. I have been selling here for two years.”
Some people at Beitbridge are sceptical about the re-opening of borders. “So if the border is closed, many people are affected in this situation. But considering the fact that this issue of coronavirus is serious, it is raising the concern all over the country. I would like, if it was my decision, to open this border maybe on the first of March.”
The Groblersbrug border post into Botswana remains closed after it was effected by floods. Border authorities say the border will be closed for the next four weeks.
The border saw heavy congestion in December with travellers spending days at the border before crossing: