All’s clear on the northern front, at least as clear as can be given Covid-curbing measures implemented on the Beitbridge border.
Confirmation that the all-important land link between South Africa and Zimbabwe was this morning relatively free of any unnecessary impediments was received by a Musina-based clearing agent – the same clearing agent who yesterday said that “runners” in Zim were still being harassed by soldiers.
This morning though the same agent said that issues with military personnel north of the border had been sorted out.
“They (soldiers) weren’t aware that runners – clearing document carriers who provide a customs service to truck drivers waiting in border queues – provide an essential service.”
Previously though there was uncertainty over the runners ‘breaking’ dawn-to-dusk curfew regulations under Zimbabwe’s strict lockdown measures.
It resulted in soldiers accosting runners between 6pm and 6am in what many cross-border freight representatives described as yet another reason to badger and bribe border operatives.
As recently as yesterday a road haulier and member of Transist approached the bureau asking whether there were any updates on when and if officials would allow runners to do their jobs past 18:00.
Transist swiftly responded to the query, saying there shouldn’t be any issues.
A spokesperson for the bureau said none other than Innocent Chikuni himself, regional manager of customs and excise for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, had confirmed that runners were allowed to operate at night.
The agent to whom Freight News spoke supported this, saying that it had all been resolved.
“Soldiers in Zimbabwe simply didn’t know that runners are not part of the curfew.”
For the time being, despite a slew of snags the much-beleaguered border has had to contend with during the coronavirus pandemic, Beitbridge is free and clear for cargo flows on the North-South Line.