MPs to visit border posts after festive season congestion

10 January 2021 - 10:35 By TimesLIVE
Cars and people travelling from Zimbabwe into South Africa at the Beitbridge border queue to have their Covid tests before being allowed entry into the country.
Cars and people travelling from Zimbabwe into South Africa at the Beitbridge border queue to have their Covid tests before being allowed entry into the country.
Image: Alex Patrick

The parliamentary home affairs portfolio committee will this week inspect both the Beitbridge and Lebombo ports of entry.

The MPs intend to evaluate progress on measures implemented to alleviate congestion at these border posts.

“The committee was concerned by the conditions people faced at these borders which posed both humanitarian and health risks, and this visit will be used to interact with the departments operating at the ports of entry to ascertain if resolutions have been found to challenges faced at these sites,” said committee chair Bongani Bongo.

Both Beitbridge and Lebombo ports of entry deal with a large number of travellers into and out of SA, even before the outbreak of coronavirus which required special checks.

Said Bongo: “These ports of entry serve as the gateway for trade with a high volume of trucks crossing these borders into the African continent. It was thus alarming that they are faced by the kind of challenges that were experienced during this festive season. It is in this context that the committee will ascertain if solutions to cumbersome queues and on the lack of health documentation have been found.”

The committee recently called for engagement with countries within the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to develop a blueprint to ensure smooth and efficient crossing at the borders. “This meeting will also get an update on engagements with neighbouring countries especially regarding co-operation at the ports of entry,” Bongo said.

The MPs will visit Beitbridge on Tuesday and the Lebombo border post on Thursday. They also plan to interact with staff on the availability of personal protective equipment, and with travellers and truck drivers to obtain first-hand experience about their experiences.

TimesLIVE


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