Mnangagwa to open Beitbridge border post on 1 December 2020
Zimbabwe which is used by many Sadc countries as a transit nation closed its airports and land ports of entry at the end of March at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since then long-distance haulage trucks, Zimbabweans returning from other countries, and bodies for burials around the country were being allowed through the land and airports.
The decision to reopen the ports was arrived at following recommendations by various teams which have been monitoring the operations around the borders in the last four weeks.
In a post-cabinet briefing, Information Minister Monica Mustvangwa said the borders will open first to private passenger vehicles and pedestrian traffic, while further assessment is being undertaken with regard to preparations for handling public passenger transport
"Cabinet resolved that the opening of border posts be phased, beginning with Beitbridge, Plumtree, Victoria Falls, Chirundu, Nyamapanda, and Forbes.
The borders will open first to private passenger vehicles and pedestrian traffic as from 1st December 2020, while further assessment is being undertaken with regard to preparations for handling public passenger transport," said Mutsvangwa.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa also announced the date by which Zimbabwe's land borders will be open to the general public.
Mnangagwa took to Twitter to announce that Zimbabwe will begin to open its borders on December 1st.
Said Mnangagwa, "After nearly 9 months of restrictions, Zimbabwe will begin to open its borders on December 1st.
"To all Zimbabweans who complied with the #COVID19 measures, your resilience has saved countless lives across Zimbabwe.""
After nearly 9 months of restrictions, Zimbabwe will begin to open its borders on December 1st.— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) October 27, 2020
To all Zimbabweans who complied with the #COVID19 measures, your resilience has saved countless lives across Zimbabwe.
Let’s now work together to get our economy back on track! 🇿🇼
Under the new order, border operating hours will be fixed between 0600 and 1800 hours. The times will be reviewed in due course.
The government also said, curfew hours were extended beyond the current 2000 hours to 2200 hours for the convenience of those who are cleared late at ports of entry.
"This will be subject to gazetting," she said.
The Department of Immigration had earlier advised the Government on health grounds to consider phasing the reopening of land borders for passenger traffic, especially at Beitbridge Border Post where 500 000 people crossed in both directions before the start of the lockdown in March alone.
Already, South Africa and Zimbabwe have similar regulations in place on testing requirements to avoid quarantining on the other side, although the regulations are yet to be perfectly aligned.
The port of entry is a gateway from South Africa to much of Sadc, with many using the border post on their way to Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, DRC, Zambia and Tanzania.
Last month, the country reopened airports to tourism-related travel, but passenger traffic by road and rail is still restricted.
Only returning residents, commercial cargo, diplomats on Government business and human remains for burial are being allowed entry through the country's land borders.