The Sunday News
There is a last minute rush in Beitbridge as Zimbabwe and South Africa prepare to jointly close Beitbridge Border Post to non-residents at midnight today.
Cargo operations will not be interrupted.
Our correspondent Thupeyo Muleya said: “Zimbabweans are making the trip to Messina in South Africa to buy groceries before a lock-down.”
After midnight only Zimbabweans will be allowed entry into Zimbabwe with South Africa only allowing its citizens into the country. In Zimbabwe a travel ban was announced by President Mnangagwa on Monday as part of a cocktail of measures aimed at managing and contain Covid-19.
Across the Limpopo South Africa is going into a 21-day lock-down tonight, which includes travel restrictions. To avoid confusion, the two countries have agreed to coordinate immigration policies on each side of the border.
The assistant regional immigration officer in charge of Beitbridge in Zimbabwe, Nqobile Ncube, confirmed that they had agreed in principle with the South Africans to synchronise operations for the next 21 days.
“What it means is that by Thursday midnight we are closing the border to non-essential human traffic and we have agreed to synchronise the compliance period with our South African counterparts,” he said.
“Only Zimbabweans travelling from South Africa and those foreigners who have valid permits to reside in the country will be allowed passage north at this border. The same applies to those leaving the country. It will be the South Africans and those who are residents of the neighbouring country who will depart.
“As per the Presidential declaration, we will allow the movers of freight to access the border to ensure that all the essential commodities are moved into either country.”
Under normal circumstances, 14 000 people, 120 buses, 500 commercial trucks and 3 000 vehicles use Beitbridge Border Post daily. This includes people in transit to countries north of the Zambezi.–ZTN