President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered touts and other illegal vendors to be flushed out of the new multi-million dollar Beitbridge border post, to curb criminality and facilitate smooth cross-border movement.
The border post, which was built at a cost of over US$300 million, and opened recently, has reportedly been invaded by touts offering various criminal services such as illegal border crossing into and out of neighbouring South Africa.
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development has complained that the touts were not only tarnishing the image of the country, but also hindering the smooth flow of movement at the border.
Speaking at the Ministry’s strategic planning workshop here on Thursday, Minister Felix Mhona said he had alerted President Mnangagwa to the problem touts posed at Beitbridge, and he had ordered that these be flushed out.
“I am happy we have a listening President. Recently I briefed President Mnangagwa that we still have challenges of touts and middlemen (makoronyera) at the new border post who will be waiting to intercept travellers and asking for documents, and we don’t need them there.
“His response was, flush them out,” said Mhona.
He said the touts and middlemen hindered the smooth operations of the border, Africa’s biggest and busiest port of entry.
“We don’t want interference with the operations of the border post. If you are done with your business at the border you go straight to your destination. We don’t want anyone outside the border asking for Zimra documents such as manifests,” Mhona said.
“We don’t want this to happen, it must be stopped. It must be stated that no other formalities must be conducted outside the border.
“Those who know, if you get into the new border post, we have all counters including the Criminal Investigating Department. So there is no one who should stop you outside that framework.”
Mhona said traffic flow at the border had picked up considerably in the last four months after the Covid 19 deep, and was expected to reach pre-pandemic levels soon.
“We are happy that the traffic flow at the new border is picking up.
Before Covid-19, the figures used to hover around 900 (vehicles) per day. With the advent of Covid-19, the number dropped to around 300 per day. Post Covid, although we are still in the era, we are now receiving 800 trucks a day in the last four months. This means we are slowly moving towards desired numbers,” he said.