Traffic flow is normalising at the Beitbridge Border Post following weeks of heavy congestion, even described by some as a humanitarian crisis.
In the past month, tens of thousands of travellers made their way out of South Africa to other Southern African countries for the festive season period.
Ten days after the New Year’s weekend rush, traffic volumes are finally subsiding, with travellers saying there are no more queues on the Zimbabwean side of the border.
“My day was…everything was perfect for us, especially the Zim side. I’m surprised less than 10 minutes, less than 10 minutes,” says one traveller.
“My journey was very nice, I am Tomas, I’m from Bulawayo. I went there for two weeks, they have checked me there and then I got the result now, I am happy to go back again to South Africa,” says another.
The Beitbridge Border Post is seen as the gateway to Africa. Construction of the bridge started in 1928, under the stewardship of mining magnate, Alfred Beit. At the centre of the bridge lies a statue of Beit.
University of Venda History lecturer, Seane Mabitsela, says the bridge has great economic significance in the SADC region.
“The six countries are the ones that are using the area that is why you are seeing previous weeks in terms of the traffic congestion it was not only the Zimbabweans, but also people from Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique, travelling all through the bridge; that is why it is important. So to chip in, it is important for the entire SADC region,” Mabitsela says.
The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs is also expected to visit both Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts this week in an effort to ascertain progress on the alleviation of challenges that led to delays that created the congestion.
Looking at the history of Beitbridge Border Post: