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Nightmare at Beitbridge border post

IT had never crossed my mind that I would one day sit down and raise a complaint against any institution, be it a parastatal, in the private sector or the public service.



s-serif”>I have travelled through Beitbridge border post more than thrice and my experiences have been nightmares:


The moment you enter the Zimbabwean side from South Africa, you notice the difference in infrastructure, atmosphere and sanitary facilities. The toilets on the Zimbabwean side are in bad state. Even animals are cared for better;

I have gone there on three occasions; once late last year and twice this year in February, trying to clear some motor vehicles. One is made to wait for an average of four to five hours before being attended to.


On one occasion I arrived at 8.30pm and the whole process was finished at 12-midday the next day.


I had booked at a local hotel but could not have the chance to check in to sleep. I waited at the assessing officer’s door for 16 hours in vain. There were no benches to sit on.


It took more than 12 hours to process a single file. On the day I am complaining about, there were five of us who were made to wait for 16 hours without sleeping.


The evening shift came and knocked off. Another shift came in the morning and was about to leave for home before we were attended to.


No one cared to address us and the staff were rude. I don’t know whether this is the kind of training they get; that they should not be pleasant to customers?


I am not sure whether they know what good customer service is. What they are not aware of is without our money they have no jobs.


I was asked trivial questions which did not seem to influence the decision the assessor was determined to make. Two things were however certain: they were either seeking bribes, simply trying to exercise power or lacked product knowledge.


An example of the questions they asked is: “Why is the invoice written Mazda 323 and there is no Familia and why is the payment transfer written Mazda Familia?”


Anyone familiar with cars knows that the answer lies in having a physical check on the vehicle. If one is a vehicle assessor then he should be familiar with cars.


The other thing which baffled me was being told my telegraphic transfer was not authentic. As far as I was concerned that was the proof of payment I had.


How do you prove the authenticity of a bank tt MT199 confirmation? What you would have been given at the bank is what you give Zimra. How then can one get controlled stationery to create tt confirmations?


I am aware that all this may be possible but if staff are not knowledgeable in seeing what is true and what is false, then as citizens we will be prone to abuse and unfair treatment.


If the officer is in a bad mood they will decide that freight has not been included and one is charged double.


One ends up paying heavy duties simply because the assessor is tired and the victim has nowhere to complain. People are receiving inhuman treatment at the border post.


Power is abused, ignorance of what to do abounds and there seems to be plenty of duplication of work. There are unending queues yet people are paid by Zimra to man the border post.


Commissioner-general Gershom Pasi should please help. The situation has now got out of hand. Just go there in disguise or send someone to witness first-hand the mess and incompetence of your staff.


Is RBZ governor Gideon Gono able to help on this one? The experience is close to hell on earth.


Frustrated Citizen,

Harare.

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