by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
PRETORIA – SOUTH Africa is to ensure the smooth facilitation of traveller movement between the country and Zimbabwe over the festive season.
Minister of Home Affairs, Siyabonga Cwele, is scheduled to visit the Beit Bridge border post on Thursday (tomorrow) as part of these plans.
The minister is expected to report on implementation of festive season plans earlier announced to deal with the expected upsurge in traveller movement, including extending hours of operations at the busiest ports and deploying an additional 425 Home Affairs officials.
“Many Zimbabwean nationals will enjoy hassle-free travel as they will be using their new Zimbabwean Exemption Permits and their valid passports,” read a statement released by Home Affairs spokesman, David Hlabane.
He stated the additional 425 officials are from various Home Affairs offices had been trained for this task.
The Home Affairs officials will operate under close supervision of experienced officials who are a part of the ports of entry permanent staff establishment.
Additional deployments and extended hours at ports were rolled-out in anticipation of increased traveller volumes over this period.
Beit Bridge, which is one of South Africa’s 53 land ports, witnesses a sharp increase in traveller volumes over the festive season and the opening of schools in the new year.
This busiest land port, bordering Zimbabwe, is among South Africa’s six largest land ports of entry by traffic volume that had been designated for infrastructural development.
The border experiences congestion during holidays but mostly the festive season due to volumes of travelers, mainly from Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states.
Among them are travelers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
– CAJ News