Border officials dispel chaos claims

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Immigration officials at Beitbridge Border Post on Tuesday dismissed as untrue, claims that there was overcrowding at the border post as a result of the closure of the South African side of the border between 9pm on Monday and 2am on Tuesday.

Officials said business at the border post, regarded as the busiest in Africa, was normal.

“It’s normal. It seems people heeded the message that the border post would be closed between 9pm and 2am and they did not overcrowd. Even yesterday, we didn’t have any pressure. It was very manageable,” an official said.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority regional manager at the border post refused to comment.

“I am not allowed to discuss such issues with the Press. Try the corporate communications office in Harare,” he said.

There were claims early yesterday that the temporary closure of the South African side of the border had caused chaos as scores of people who had apparently not heard about the move thronged the border post, congesting both sides of the border.

The South African government on Monday temporarily closed its side of the border post in Musina until early Tuesday morning to allow for an upgrade of its immigration department’s information technology system.

According to a memorandum to the Zimbabwe immigration officials on Sunday, the SA immigration officials said they would close to upgrade their IT system from 10pm on Monday until 2am on Tuesday.

“We will not be processing travellers during this period. We are therefore requesting that you stop travellers from entering the border during this period until the process is finished. The last batch of travellers to be processed are those that would be inside the port of entry before 9pm tomorrow.We will not accept entry after 9pm as we will be finishing with those who will be inside the port of entry,” reads the memo.