By Rex Mphisa
The Beitbridge border post was a hive of activity yesterday as thousands of Zimbabweans based in South Africa arrived in the country for the long weekend.
Motorists complained that Zimbabwe National Roads Authority , Vehicle Inspection Department and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officers were rejecting “soiled” United States dollar notes.
They said that officials at the three points rejected “dirty” notes for toll fees, road access fees and road use coupons for heavy vehicles levied by the three departments respectively.
At the border scores of travellers, who took time off for South Africa’s Women’s Day, an official public holiday on Friday, overwhelmed officials surprised by the sudden influx.
An immigration official said crowds started swelling on Friday morning when there was a sudden influx of people from South Africa.
“Almost suddenly they started pouring in and maintained a steady flow until this morning,” said an official.
“We do not have statistics at hand, but definitely there was an upsurge.”
Some motorists, however, complained of slow service on the South African side of the border where they accused immigration officials of a lacklustre approach.
“They looked as if they were on a go-slow, we were there for close to two hours before getting service. It was much faster at Zimbabwean immigration and customs counters,” said Njabulo Sibanda, who was headed for Gwanda.
“But after going through customs and excise as well as immigration processes, we were stopped several times by plainclothes officials demanding passports or to check our goods. It looks disorganised.
“But the moment they get a bit of money, they wave you on only to be stopped again a few metres on.”
At least six points had been set up where motorists were stopped before finally reaching the gate where hordes of police officers swarmed the cars demanding passports.