TRAFFIC volumes at Beitbridge Border Post are gradually picking up, with locals returning to the country saying they were facing less hurdles and being cleared faster as compared to the previous festive seasons.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
Traditionally the border post, which is the busiest main gateway for commercial traffic to South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, experiences massive congestion during festive seasons.
Thousands of travellers, mainly locals who work in neighbouring South Africa, make the journey back home each year to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays with their families.
A Southern Eye news crew that visited the border post on Wednesday afternoon observed that there were no long queues, with travellers saying they were impressed by the “smooth flow of traffic from either side”.
After getting through immigration formalities on the South African side of the border, travellers normally endure even longer delays on the Zimbabwean side.
“It’s surprising that our bus got cleared in less than three hours unlike in previous years where we would queue for close to 12 hours,” Ayanda Sithole said.
“We suspect that more staff could have been deployed in anticipation of an influx next week as most people break for holidays.”
Another traveller said: “To be honest I experienced less hassles today [Wednesday]. Staff on the South African side were cautious than before.”
A long queue of private cars and buses on the Zimbabwean side were observed waiting to enter South Africa. Some travellers said they are heading to South Africa to spend the festive season and not for shopping.
“Am taking my family to spend the festive season with relatives in Polokwane. It’s not linked to the economic situation, but rather a change.”
Meanwhile, Beitbridge Business Association chairperson Clever Moyo said they expected more volume of traffic from the weekend.
“Traffic will pick and on the business side traders face challengers in bringing in their stock in time for resale”.