The Automobile Association (AA) has warned travellers to Zimbabwe to exercise caution when using the Beitbridge border crossing.
This comes after protests at the border prompted by the implementation on Friday of strict import regulations by Harare.
“We are following news reports of developments, which appear at times to be heated. We are also aware that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is in talks with the Zimbabwean government about the situation. Given these two factors, we urge anyone travelling to Zimbabwe through Beitbridge to avail themselves of the situation first before attempting to cross there,” the Association noted.
Two ways in which to do this are to monitor media reports on the situation at Beitbridge, or by contacting the Zimbabwean Revenue Authority (ZRA) Beitbridge Border Post on (0286) 22529 or (0286) 22259 for more information.
Alternatively, travellers can also contact the Zimbabwean Consulate in Johannesburg on (011) 615 5879. The regulations imposed by Zimbabwe restrict the importation of certain goods into the country unless a licence that details why these products are being taken into Zimbabwe is obtained first.
The regulations, which came into effect on 1 July, are outlined in an amendment to the statutory instrument 64 of 2016 (Control of Goods), and published in the Zimbabwean Government Gazette on 18 June 2016. This notice prohibits the importation of a number of consumer items and building materials. Among the prohibited items are coffee creamers, baked beans, potato crisps, peanut butter, flavoured milk, canned fruits and vegetables, wheelbarrows, doors, and windows.
“It is our understanding that any items on the restricted list, even in small quantities, will not be allowed through the border post. For this reason, we urge all travellers to check the list thoroughly before they leave to ensure they do not carry any of these items with them,” said the AA.
The Association also advised anyone travelling to Zimbabwe through Beitbridge to ensure that all the necessary documentation they may require is complete and up to date.
The AA noted that the Beitbridge border crossing is an important border post for both Zimbabwe and South Africa and expressed the hope that the situation there would return to normal as soon as possible for the sake of all travellers.