Archives For Beitbridge Border Post

Belissima!

March 29, 2017 — Leave a comment

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has seized a Ferrari that was smuggled into the country. The luxury vehicle worth an estimated R13.8m was stored at a warehouse in South Africa since 2014.

In February 2015, however, the vehicle’s owner submitted an export declaration to take the car to the Democratic Republic of Congo through Beitbridge border post. A day later, there was an attempt to have the vehicle returned to South Africa through the same border post.

The vehicle has been detained and a letter of intent has been issued to the owner in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act No 3 of 2000 to enable them to make representation to SARS.

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ZIMRAaaaaaaaThe implementation of the Government’s new pre-shipment regulations under the Consignment Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) programme (essentially a fancy term for plain old pre-shipment inspection – who they trying to fool?) took off with host of challenges last Tuesday. The new regulations that were gazetted into law on 18 December last year and requires that goods be tested for conformity with required standards prior importation into Zimbabwe, went into operation on 1 March.

Government introduced the programme with the view to reduce hazardous and substandard imported products and improve customs duty collection. Bureau Veritas has been appointed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for the verification and the assessment of conformity of goods in exporting countries.

The new developments have seen cargo piling up on the South African side of the border with most importers failing to produce the required transitional certificate of conformity. The Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) chief executive officer, Mr Joseph Musariri, called on the government to waive the implementation of the CBCA on goods that were shipped before it became operational.

“You will note that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has failed to enforce the regulations since 18 December last year only to try and implement it this week (last week) and that has resulted in a chaotic situation.

“It is sad that cargo is piling up at Beitbridge border post where most importers are having challenges in acquiring the transitional CBCA certificates,” he said.

Mr Musariri said the government introduced the idea on 27 July last year but could not implement it since there was no legislation to that effect.

He said under the new dispensation all products regulated by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Zimbabwe exported into Zimbabwe must be accompanied by a CBCA certificate.

“The categories of goods regulated under the programme include the following: food and agriculture, building and civil engineering, petroleum and fuels , packaging material, electrical/electronic products, body care, automotive and transportation , clothing and textile and toys,” he said.

Mr Musariri said Zimra was now refusing to clear goods without the CBCA certificate and requesting for the conformity certificates.

“They are telling those importers to contact the nearest offices for Bureau Veritas for inspections and issuance of the requisite certificates.

“Locally destined cargo which is being shipped from various overseas markets is the worst affected and importers are incurring daily demurrage expenses of between $250 and $5000.

“In some cases duties had been paid to Zimra but now they are singing a different song,” he said.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr Mike Bimha, could not be reached for comment.

Bureau VERITAS liaison officer for Zimbabwe, Mr Tendai Malunga, said his organisation was ready for the implementation of the CBCA programme.

“We have trained various stakeholders on the new programme and are ready to roll.

“Furthermore we have hired more staff in most countries to conduct inspections and various conformity tests on the various countries exporting goods to Zimbabwe,” he said.
Source: The Herald (Zimbabwe)

The queues at Beit Bridge

The queues at Beit Bridge

Beitbridge Border Post recorded a sharp increase in the number of travellers who passed through during the festive season with statistics indicating that 524 511 people passed through the port of entry between 14 December last year and 7 January this year compared to 392 660 during the same period the previous year. The assistant regional immigration manager in charge of Beitbridge Border Post, Mr Charles Gwede, said they handled  229 023 travellers on the exit side, an 11 percent increase compared to the last festive season when 202 348 people left the country.

On the arrivals side, 295 488 travellers entered the country, a 35 percent surge compared to the last festive season when immigration officials handled 190 312 travellers. The highest number of travellers on the entry side was recorded on 23 December when 42 435 people entered the country through the country’s busiest port of entry. On the departure side, the highest number was recorded on 3 January when 22 625 people left the country.

“This festive season between 14 December and 7 January, we handled 524 511 travellers, marking a 25 percent increase in the number of people who passed through Beitbridge during the festive season compared to the previous year when we handled 392 660 travellers,” said Gwede. Most of the travellers that they handled were Zimbabweans working in South Africa commonly known as injiva, who had visited home for the Christmas holidays. He attributed the increase in the number of travellers to the South African documentation exercise, which saw many Zimbabweans working in that country acquiring permits.

Many of Zimbabweans staying and working in South Africa are now documented after they acquired authentic permits during the regularisation exercise in that country hence they could now travel freely. The documents also enabled them to drive foreign registered vehicles, which is another factor that resulted in an increase in the volume of vehicular traffic during this festive period compared to the previous years. The South African government embarked on the process of documenting Zimbabweans illegally staying in that country between 5 May 2009 and 31 July 2010 during which over 275 000 applications from Zimbabweans were processed while several others were turned down and some are still pending. Source: The Chronical, Zimbabwe

border-lines

Zimbabwean Police are set to meet their South African counterparts following an incident in which the South African officers used tear gas to control travellers at their side of the border last Friday morning. The majority of the travellers were Zimbabweans, with others coming from countries north of the Zambezi.

The South African Police Services (SAPS) used tear smoke to control travellers at around 9am as the number of human traffic started increasing at Beitbridge Border Post.

No one was injured in the incident which lasted for about 15 minutes when people started showing their discontent with the slow way they were being cleared by immigration officials from that country.

Some travellers started jumping queues after they had spent between three and four hours waiting to gain passage into South Africa. Police officer commanding Beitbridge district Chief Superintendent Lawrence Chinhengo said yesterday that the incident was a great cause for concern.

“This was a very unfortunate incident. We are not happy with the method our counterparts used to control queues and have since communicated to them that we need to have an urgent bilateral meeting to iron out the issue. There are better ways to manage people rather than the tear smoke. It is of paramount importance that we meet and find better ways to control crowds during this festive season,” he said. Source: Bulawayo24.com

For more insight also read “Zim travellers stranded at border post” on zoutnet.co.za.

beitbridge

Beitbridge – crossing the Limpopo river

The Department of Immigration in Beitbridge has put in place mechanisms aimed at dealing with congestion at the country’s busiest border post in anticipation of an increase in the volume of traffic during the festive period. Assistant regional immigration manager in charge of Beitbridge Border Post, Mr Charles Gwede, said they have since held a series of meetings with key stakeholders and their South African counterparts to address congestion at the border.

“We have started preparing for the festive period in anticipation of a huge influx of travellers and all necessary strategies are now in place to help speed up the clearance of people during the festive period,” he said. “We are suspending leave and off-days for staff between 15 December and 16 January next year.

“As part of our decongestion drive we will scramble our shifts to maximise on manpower during the normal and extra peak days. In fact, starting from 15 December we expect a huge influx of travellers hence between 14 and 17 December, 21 and 24 December and 4 to 7 January, we will dissolve our shifts to ensure that we have more officers per shift who would effectively manage the queues and speed up the clearance process,” he said.

Mr Gwede said they were expecting 20 officers from other stations to beef up the local staff and ensure that all check points and counters were adequately manned. Beitbridge Border Post has a staff complement of 47 officers and support staff.

“As border stakeholders, we held several inter-border meetings with our South African counterparts to discuss and explore ways and strategies aimed at dealing with congestion during extra peak periods.

As part of their decongestion strategy, Mr Gwede said they would categorise travellers and create more counters to reduce queues. According to statistics, immigration officials at the border handled 73 825 travellers between Monday and Wednesday on both arrival and departure sides.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) spokesperson, Mr Canisio Mudzimu, said they would deploy relief officers to Beitbridge Border Post to beef up the local staff and help speed up the customs clearance process. “We are geared up in terms of facilitating the smooth movement of both human and vehicular traffic passing through Beitbridge Border Post during the festive season. We will deploy extra officers from less busy stations to Beitbridge Border Post during the festive period and to assist in border operations,” he said.

Beitbridge Border Post requires at least 247 customs officers to man it. The border post, which is the country’s busiest inland port of entry, has an establishment 141 officers. Mr Mudzimu said they would create separate traffic lanes to cater for tourists, returning residents, private motorists, commercial, buses and pedestrians to speed up the flow of traffic and reduce congestion.

Touts and bogus clearing agents continue to find their way into the customs yard where they would swindle unsuspecting travellers of their money under the guise of offering assistance. Beitbridge is the busiest inland port of entry in sub-Saharan Africa, which handles a huge volume of both human and vehicular traffic passing though daily. Commercial trucks destined for East and Central African countries such as Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia also pass through the border post.

On a normal day, the border handles between 6 000 and 8 000 travellers daily with the figures rising to 20 000 during the peak period. Source: Bulawayo24.com