PRESSURE at the South African side of the border at Beitbridge eased yesterday with revelations that the entry point on Saturday recorded 28 000 Zimbabweans returning to that country from celebrating the Christmas holidays.
Report by Nduduzo Tshuma Staff Reporter
South Africa’s Border Control Operation Co-ordinating Committee (BCOCC) spokesperson Patrick Moeng yesterday told NewsDay that they expected to process about 20 000 people by the end of yesterday.
“The situation has eased since this (yesterday) morning.
“It is not like in the past three days with the highest number of people passing through the ports from the Zimbabwean side,” he said.
“The situation, however, is not unusual because we know that every year this time people will be coming back into the country including those who will be going to look for jobs.
“We have increased staff and equipment to make sure that we manage the pressure. The original processing points are 40 computers, but we are using 46 computers to ensure that people go through as quickly as possible. The situation is under control.”
There were reports of pandemonium at the Beitbridge border post on Sunday with assistant regional immigration manager-in-charge of the border post Charles Gwede quoted in the media attributing the situation to failure by the BCOCC to manage the pressure .
Moeng said on December 17, the border post processed 30 000 people going to Zimbabwe with 40 computer points, which he said was the highest number so far.
“The figure is higher than the 28 000 we processed on Saturday and 26 299 yesterday (Sunday) through the entry point, but we managed to control pressure on the day,” he said.
Asked if they expected the figure to rise, Moeng said the numbers were unpredictable.
“We still expect a number of people to pass through, but the situation is under control, we are equal to the task,” he said.