Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Zimbabwe Embassy has resumed consular services in Eswatini and Mozambique which had been temporarily shelved at the peak of the Covid-19 lockdowns around the Sadc region.
Services including documentation- issuing of birth, national identification documents, and passports were suspended in March to minimise human interface at public places.
Zimbabwe’s representative in Mozambique Ambassador Douglas Nyikayaramba who also covers eSwatini, said operations resumed this week.
He said a team of four officers from the embassy in Maputo had since travelled to the Kingdom of eSwatini to provide consular services to the Zimbabwean community resident in that country.
“An estimated 300 nationals were served over a two-day period between 9 and 10 November,” said Ambassador Nyikayaramba.
“The consular visit was in response to a request made by the Association of Zimbabweans resident in eSwatini.
Due to the travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, our nationals could not travel to Maputo for consular services since March 2020.”
He said they had attended to Zimbabweans requiring mainly travel documents, temporary travel documents, passport application forms and births registration.
Ambassador Nyikayaramba said the turnout was overwhelming resulting in the teams working between 8 am to 9pm on both days.
“We have noted that there is a need for the revival of quarterly visits to reduce the backlog. The consular services are sort of seasonal, towards holidays when people want to travel, end of the year and beginning of year/school calendar,” he said.
He said since the beginning of the lockdowns in March, they had facilitated the repatriation of over 400 Zimbabwean nationals that were stranded in Mozambique.
Ambassador Nyikayaramba said they had also assisted 80 others who were stuck in eSwatini to get home with the help of the Zimbabwe Consulate in Johannesburg.
Zimbabweans returning from Mozambique by road are coming in mainly via the Forbes and Sango Border Posts, while those coming in from eSwatini, Lesotho, and South Africa are using the Beitbridge.
So far, 10 700 Zimbabweans have returned through the country’s southern border post.