Zimbabwe wants new border with SA


A new border between Zimbabwe and South Africa would ease congestion at the Beitbridge border post, said Zimbabwe officials following proposals that the two neighbours open a second border post to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic.

Border jumping has also been rife during periods of congestion at the border amid fears that such situations could fuel smuggling cartels. The SANDF has been patrolling the border with Zimbabwe to root out tobacco cigarette smugglers in the past few months.

David Coltart, a Zimbabwean cabinet minister, suggested that a new border post be set up between Zimbabwe and South Africa to ease the Beitbridge border congestion. Officials battled to control long winding queues in the past few weeks as travellers and tourists battled to cross the border linking the two countries.
“If need be, we should be considering the construction of another road to South Africa — for example, the most direct … route is south through Kezi … that road needs to be upgraded and a new border constructed over the Shashi,” said Coltart.

However, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry says setting up a new border post would not solve the border chaos. The chief executive officer of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the solution to easing the border chaos lies in “how to improve road efficiencies that would promote trade and movement of people”.

Zimbabwe and South African immigration officials have taken turns to blame each side for the border chaos. Kembo Mohadi, Zimbabwe’s co-Home Affairs Minister attributed the border chaos to a surge in the number of people visiting Zimbabwe.

South African Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said the infrastructure at Beitbridge was inadequate to cope with the increasing number of travellers. “For a start, we probably need a bypass as we now have at the Lebombo border post,” Apleni said.

Zimbabwean cigarettes smuggled through the Beitbridge border with Zimbabwe have been identified as one of the major drivers of the South African contraband market with a 70% market share, according to the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay last year said figures indicated that syndicates were diverting their focus from drugs to cigarettes.
“Information obtained suggests that a number of well-known organised crime figures have been moving away from investing in traditional illegal drug smuggling, and are now getting involved in the tobacco industry.”