Omalayitsha stranded at Beitbridge border

Cross border transporters are reportedly flooding the Beitbridge Border Post intending to transport goods into the country despite an existing ban on private traffic.

Zimbabwe which is used by many Sadc countries as a transit nation, closed its borders at the end of March at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since then long distance haulage trucks, Zimbabweans returning from other countries, and bodies for burials around the country were being allowed through the land and airports.

The borders are set to be reopened on December 1, first to private passenger vehicles and pedestrian traffic.

The cross border transporters, who used to move goods and people using mini vans were forced to upgrade to commercial truck, a development that pushed many out of business. 

Now the transporters want to be allowed to transport goods using their mini vans. 

“We are facing a huge problem, we have tried every all we can to talk with the authorities to allow us to operate but with no luck” said one operator.

“The challenge we are experiencing is that we ferry people’s goods from South Africa to Zimbabwe, when we get to the South African border side we are allowed to pass but when we reach the Zimbabwean side they refuse for us to pass with the goods as these days we are mainly transporting goods only.”

The cross border transporters said they are appealing to be allowed to operate as they do not have any other means of survival.

“What bothers us as Omalayitsha is that buses are allowed to operate, our appeal is that we are allowed to go through the same process as the cross border bus operators,” said another operator.

Contacted for a comment, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) Head Corporate Communications, Francis Chimanda said the border is still closed for private traffic.

“Please kindly note that the border is still closed to private traffic, only commercial vehicles are currently being allowed.

“The buses that are coming in are those that are transporting returnees with their goods and these are regulated by Zimbabwe consulate in Johannesburg and Capetown,”said Chimanda.

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