beitbridge border aaron motsoaledi

Motsoaledi shrugs off Beitbridge border crisis – ‘We’ve done all we can’ [video]

Andile Sicetsha - 06.01.2021

Customs officials at the Beitbridge border are instructed to keep processing immigrants until 21:00, when the curfew sets in, in SA.

All eyes are fixed on the events unfolding at the Beitbridge border as thousands of immigrants attempt to make their way into South Africa at the start of the new year.

Watch: Thousands stuck at Beitbridge border

The entry pass that runs near the Limpopo river is synonymous with illegal activity and around this time of the year, scores of immigrants use its defections as a means of gaining access to South Africa’s strained economy.

eNCA reporter Siphamandla Goge has been covering the ins and outs of the Beitbridge border since the dramatic scenes we witnessed in the festive season.

In December, multiple deaths were reported as countless foreign nationals queued outside the border attempting to return to their home countries in time for the season’s festivities.

This time, the inverse was witnessed on the Zimbabwe side of the border. Thousands have been stuck in queues for days, as they try, by any means, to re-enter South Africa before the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led nation enters into a hard curfew.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was probed on the events unfolding at the border by News24. His response was dejected and offered no real insight into the department’s plans to curb illegal entry into South Africa.

Motsoaledi confirmed that since the start of the festive season, more than 77 foreign nationals were arrested for trying to enter the country illegally.

This, however, is the least of the problems faced by customs authorities at Beitbridge.

Much of the delay, it’s said, is caused by the newly implemented Covid-19 screening procedure, where immigrants are required to present a certified negative test result that was issued 72 hours ago before their immigration documents can be scanned for validity.

This tedious process is, in part, the reason why some foreign nationals are resorting to extreme measures to find a quicker way into South Africa.

“The queues are long because people want to come to South Africa. There is nothing more we can do. We sent all the extra people, the army, the police, health officials. We won’t be able to send any more,” he told the cited publication.

Customs officials are only allowed to process immigrants until 21:00 when the curfew sets in, in South Africa. With no end to the Beitbridge border nightmare in sight, authorities can do nothing but ensure that compliance is met by those trying to enter the coutnry.