The country’s second biggest city, Bulawayo, was yesterday bracing itself to host thousands of the Zimbabwe Christian Church (ZCC) pilgrims who will converge in Pumula East suburb for the opening of a church at conference expected to end Sunday.
The pilgrims started trickling into Zimbabwe on Thursday and by Friday morning some of them could be seen disembarking from mini-buses and cars in Pumula East.
According to South African media reports, more than 500 buses and 5000 cars were expected from Gauteng and the South African authorities were preparing for congestion on N1 north, the country’s main road between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
South African media reported that the Limpopo department of roads and transport said it would conduct joint operations between traffic officers, police, Home Affairs officials, health workers, emergency services and customs officials as well as their counterparts in Zimbabwe.
Departmental spokesman Thesan Moodley told the media that, “We will also be conducting public transport operations where we will be checking on driver and vehicle fitness.
“We are appealing to pilgrims and road users at large to make sure their cars are roadworthy.
“Motorists must be alert, patient and responsible and obey the basic rules of the road”.
Home Affairs’ Norman Ramashia said they had installed 50 temporary terminals in addition to the normal ones at the border gate at the Musina Showgrounds to deal the huge influx of travellers.
Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane, the church’s leader, is expected to give the keynote sermon at the conference.
According to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) reports, the local authority had tasked its health services department and the engineering department to work with the church to manage the large number of people in the city for the conference.
The Zion Christian Church (or ZCC) is one of the largest African initiated churches in southern Africa, with members belonging to ZCC Star and members belonging to the saint Engenas ZCC.
The church’s headquarters are at Zion City Moria in Limpopo Province, South Africa.