September 5, 2019

Movement at Zim-SA border normal

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Thupeyo Muleya

The movement of both human and commercial cargo traffic has remained normal at Beitbridge Border post, despite reports on social media that traffic had increased in light of the xenophobia motivated attacks on foreign nationals by South Africans.

In previous years Beitbridge, which is the busiest inland port of entry, would be a hive of activity with citizens from countries north of the Limpopo fleeing attacks from the locals.

African citizens have been on the receiving end of an orgy of violence perpetrated by criminal, elements accusing them of taking their jobs.

It is understood that citizens from some countries in the SADC region have started retaliating by blocking South African registered commercial trucks or looting their businesses.

The Assistant Regional Immigration Officer in charge of Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, Mr Nqobile Ncube, said they were yet to record any increased traffic movement through the border.

“We are processing an average of 15 000 travellers daily, inclusive of both entries and exit,” he said.

“These are normal figures considering that it’s a month end which also coincides with schools opening next week.

“ In the last six days we cleared 49 658 entries and 48 869 exits (between August 29 and September 3).The trend is expected and not abnormal as it stands”.

The chairperson of the Beitbridge Commercial Truckers Association, Mr Osbert Shumba, said the movement of cargo remained normal.

“Trucks are moving according to schedule and we have not heard of any incident where anyone was blocked or stopped from entering South Africa or Zimbabwe via Beitbridge border post,” he said.

By end of day on Wednesday it was business as usual, with trucks travelling either side of the border unhindered.

 According to Amnesty International (South Africa) so far five people have been killed in the clashes against locals and foreigners since the orgy of violence escalated a few days ago.

Some travellers said the xenophobic attacks had been confined mainly in Gauteng province and were unlikely to spread to the border towns, where people are closely related, and rely on each other for business.

In 2015, Zimbabwe had to repatriate 1500 of its citizens from Durban during xenophobic attacks in Kwazulu Natal province.

In the same year Malawi evacuated 1300 of its nationals by road via Beitbridge border post.

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