South Africa Tightens Border Security at Beitbridge Amidst Post-Festive Season Return of Zimbabweans

Beitbridge Border Post Sees Increased Vigilance to Curb Illegal Entries and Smuggling

by Oluwatosin Alabi

South Africa Enhances Border Control Measures as Zimbabweans Return

As thousands of Zimbabweans make their return to South Africa post-festive season, stringent measures have been implemented at the Beitbridge border post. The Border Management Authority (BMA) has indicated that these measures aim to ensure all individuals returning hold proper documentation.

BMA Commissioner Mike Masiapato emphasized the need for rigorous documentation processes. “Our focus is to ensure that all individuals processed have the correct documentation to enter South Africa. This is crucial to prevent undocumented individuals from engaging in criminal activities,” Masiapato stated.

Ramping Up Security to Mitigate Illegal Crossings

By Thursday, nearly 40,000 people had crossed into South Africa, with figures expected to surge. Authorities intercepted over 4,000 attempts at illegal entry. Masiapato highlighted that measures were being enforced for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The festive season saw over 400,000 individuals processed from South Africa into Zimbabwe. “As we start the return phase, our efforts also include curbing the smuggling of illicit goods like cigarettes,” Masiapato added.

Increased Deployments and Strategic Roadblocks

The BMA has increased official deployments at Beitbridge following heightened attempts at illegal entry. Masiapato detailed the strategic placement of roadblocks around Beitbridge to intercept illegal crossings. “These roadblocks are crucial in our efforts to maintain legal and safe border crossings,” he said.

Patriotic Alliance’s Involvement in Border Control

The Patriotic Alliance (PA), led by Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene, has also taken active steps to prevent illegal entry. Videos on social media show PA members discouraging illegal crossings via the Limpopo River. “We need to protect our borders from undocumented immigrants,” McKenzie stated on social media platforms.

Party deputy president Kunene echoed these sentiments, calling for stronger border management and the deployment of additional soldiers to secure the nation’s borders.

Emphasis on Proper Documentation and Safe Driving Practices

Nicholas Mabhena, executive director of the Africa Diaspora Forum, stressed the importance of carrying all relevant documentation, including old passports for those on Zimbabwe exemption permits.

Meanwhile, the national transport department expressed concerns over road safety during the festive season. Spokesperson Collen Msibi highlighted the need for adherence to road rules and cautioned against fatigue while driving. “Every two hours or 200 km of driving, taking a rest is vital to prevent accidents caused by fatigue,” he advised.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga is expected to release comprehensive statistics on festive season road incidents later this month, following consolidation of data from various provinces and municipalities.

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