Travellers stranded as Beitbridge border post remains closed

By Liz Dlodlo

Some motorists and other travellers were Thursday left counting losses at Beitbridge Border Post when they failed to enter or leave the country.

Many people travelled to Zimbabwe and South Africa’s border unaware of the proper travelling protocols.

There was confusion on Tuesday evening when the South African immigration cleared travellers to leave for Zimbabwe without prior consultations.

As a result, the motorists were turned away.

On the Zimbabwe side, many travellers were left distraught after being turned away at the main border gate.

In separate interviews, the travellers said they had come as far as Harare, Mutare and Kwekwe.

“I was devastated when I learnt that the border was closed to ordinary travellers considering that I drove through the night from Harare. There was not enough communication from the Government on the border operations,” said one traveller.

Tinotenda Shumba told CITE that he intended to buy vehicles spare parts in South Africa.

“This is very unfortunate,” he lamented.

Taxi drivers who usually thrive on cross border traders had by midmorning parked at their old taxi rank waiting for clients which never came.

Some were seen still parked outside the border entrance in disbelief that the border remained closed.

“Most of the drivers you see here came early in the morning anticipating to get clients since we had heard the border will be open.

However, we hear from border officials that the border is only attending to commercial cargo,” said a driver who preferred to be known only as Madzibaba.

Only commercial trucks were seen entering and living Zimbabwe and both the local managers for customs and immigration could not be reached for comment.

President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 16 September that Pretoria would reopen international borders business and tourism-related travelling from Thursday (October 1).

This, he said was part of the many measures to re-open the economy which has negatively affected by Covid19.

Under the current set up citizens from 57 countries including; Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Faroe Islands, France, French Polynesia, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq , Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg,  and the Maldives remain banned from travelling to South Africa.

Others are; Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Nepal, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Panama, Palau, Paraguay, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Qatar, Russia, San Marino, St Marteen, Slovakia, Slovenia, Suriname, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.

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