Long queues of people looking to enter South Africa through the Beitbridge border post in Limpopo, have mostly been cleared and operations are proceeding in an orderly fashion.
This was according to Siya Qoza, spokesperson for home affairs minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.
Qoza told News24 on Wednesday that immigration officers, police and soldiers had been maintaining order at the border post, which connects South Africa and Zimbabwe, ensuring that people were waiting in two lines.
Those who had valid PCR tests were screened and allowed to enter if they had valid immigration documents.
“People in the queues are those who do not have Covid-19 certificates. They are waiting to be tested. If they test negative and have valid immigration documents, they are allowed in. Those who test positive are not allowed in and they return to Zimbabwe,” Qoza said.
He added that anyone who presented fake Covid-19 certificates, were denied entry into South Africa and banned from entering South Africa for a period of five years.
By Wednesday afternoon, Qoza said most of the queuing pedestrians had been cleared and that cars and trucks were in the process of being cleared.
This followed reports of chaotic scenes at the busy Beitbridge border post, where thousands of Zimbabweans were desperately trying to cross into South Africa.
News24 previously reported that long queues and desperate attempts to enter South Africa had placed great strain on the country’s border posts with neighbouring countries.
Motsoaledi, who said a “humanitarian crisis” might be unfolding at the Beitbridge border post, said government had done all it could to alleviate the situation.
The minister said he had informed his Zimbabwean counterpart that officials at the border post would process people up to 21:00 on Tuesday. He said an exception had been made as South Africa’s curfew begins at that time.
“It is clear to see that there may be a humanitarian crisis unfolding. I have seen the pictures. People are trying to escape the Zimbabwean hard lockdown and the curfew there,” he said.
Motsoaledi said it appeared that Zimbabwean border officials were overwhelmed by the large number of people wanting to enter South Africa before the hard lockdown was implemented by authorities there.
Qoza said the number of people attempting to enter through Beitbridge was expected to decrease as Zimbabwe had imposed a hard lockdown.
Meanwhile, at the Kosi Bay border post, police arrested 35 people crossing into South Africa illegally.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala, said the suspects were arrested on Sunday and Monday and were being held at the Emanguzi police station.
They were expected to appear in a local court soon.