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Over 200 000 troop back home for Xmas

Over 200 000 troop back home for Xmas


Over 220 000 people flocked into Zimbabwe over the last week for the festive season, marking a significant surge in arrivals compared to last year when the Government started easing stringent entry regulations imposed at the height of Covid-19.

Statistics from the Immigration Department show that 223 698 people entered the country in the six days between December 15 and 21, a development expected to boost tourism and inject renewed cheer into the holiday season.

Over the same period, 104 487 exited the country through official ports.

Last year, 281 715 inbound travellers used official ports of entry in the 20 days between December 1 and 21.

This year, the country’s busiest port of entry, the Beitbridge Border Post, had cleared 188 437 inbound travellers by Thursday, while an additional 137 954 were given the green light to exit.

Usually, during the festive season, there is a lot of traffic, but we are ready to welcome Zimbabweans back home,” she said.

“Quite a number of Zimbabweans are coming back.

“We have beefed up our manpower so that we efficiently assist travellers so that they won’t be delayed in long queues.”

Ms Gono said the upgrade and modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post had reduced congestion at the facility.

We are still clearing passengers manually before the launch of the Online Border Management System, but we are ready to serve passengers,” she said.

“No one is going to suffer because we are ready to serve each and every Zimbabwean coming back home or even our visitors. You may be aware that the upgrade of Beitbridge means we have three terminals that clear traffic differently.”

Three separate terminals for freight, buses and private cars/pedestrians were constructed.

This, Ms Gono said, has also helped ease congestion, allowing the smooth movement of people and vehicles.

The parking areas were expanded for vehicles of all types, while an automated clearing system was installed for faster clearance of goods.


Last week, the Beitbridge Border Post was a hive of activity, as thousands of north- and south-bound travellers passed through it.

Queues of buses, small vehicles and haulage trucks snaked through the port, as travellers underwent formal clearance processes.

Vendors were recording brisk business, making numerous trips to Musina, South Africa, to replenish their stock.

Regional immigration officer (Southern Region) Mr Joshua Chibundu said: “We have an increase in the number of people using the border and the numbers have increased over the past week. This can be attributed to the festive season.”

He added: “Following the modernisation of the border post, it has been relatively easy for us to deal with the increase in numbers during the festive season. The border post is now divided into sections . . . , making the process seamless and very fast.”

Mr Philip Ganje, an expatriate worker travelling back home from Durban, said: “Christmas is the only time of the year I travel to Murehwa to visit my parents in the Mutawatawa area.

“I only come to visit once a year, for two weeks, and then I go back to Durban, where I am based.

“This is the only time when I get to see my parents, pay my respects to family members who would have passed away during the year, and also celebrate with those who would have had achievements during the year.

“It is a time to take a breather.”

Mr Alois Ndete, a vendor at the Chaka Business Centre on the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, said the increase in traffic ahead of the holidays was good for business.

“One of the reminders that the festive season is upon us is the increase in the number of small vehicles from South Africa, especially those with ‘GP’ registration plates,” he said.

He said the travellers had become their biggest customers, who buy fresh produce using the South African rand.

As a result, the rand floods the market, he added.

The movement of people into the country was depressed during the pandemic on account of restrictive containment measures.

Ahead of the festive season in 2021, the Government introduced mandatory Covid-19 PCR test requirements for all returning citizens, coupled with a 10-day quarantine for those who tested positive for the virus.

The Immigration Department was clearing an average 2 000 travellers a day, against the traditional 15 000.

Over the course of last year, the authorities progressively scaled down entry restrictions, with inbound travellers being required to produce either a valid Covid-19 vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test result.

All the protocols have since been revoked.

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