Beitbridge Border Post - Hell On Earth!          - 17/11/2015      <--Prev : Next-->

Why oh why does Africa degenerate into such chaos at Border Posts We have been through some tough ones! We have done Livingstone, Chobe, Rwanda, Zanzibar, Plumtree, Mphoengs, Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius, Namibia, but the Beitbridge Border post takes the cake!!

Is it the heat that makes people act strangely, is it because it is so hot that Immigration and Customs officials become 'troppo'- a term dedicated to people who live in the tropics

We had occasion to undertake a border crossing at Beitbridge twice in the last ten days and I have to admit both the Zim and the SA sides were horrendous.

The queues snaked kilometers long with pedestrians, carrying their large bundles and bags. The sun beat down mercilessly on the poor folk in the queues and the officials were too worn out to try and keep any semblance of order.

There were touts looking for a quick buck to 'assist' one through the chaos, there were beggars, children asking to guard the cars, thieves and pickpockets. How on earth do they get into what should be a closely guarded cantonment area

Everyone is disinterested, everyone is too hot and bothered to 'give a damn'. Are they Civil Servants, or Uncivil Servants, I wonder

There were very few bona fide tourists, the South Africans avoid our border posts like the plague, there are much nicer places to visit in their own country, without going though this torture. We need the tourists, does the government not recognize that the border posts are probably the most detrimental aspects of all, to our tourist industry from the South

The queues for the Bridge Toll and the Road Tax never moved. Touts stood at the window of the tax booth, people handed their money and shouted their car registration numbers over our heads while we stood there helplessly. We had not obviously learned how to work the system.

Maybe separate windows for bona fide tourists

Although we were grey haired and supposedly should have preferential treatment, it takes guts to walk to the front of any queue, especially if you are white and there were many elderly blacks also waiting patiently in the queues, so why should we be special

And so we queued, and queued and queued, in the blazing sun with no shade at all. Five separate queues alone on the Zim side! Each controlled by the touts who never took no for an answer and became quite belligerent when told their services were not required.

My heart breaks for those brave women and men who do this week in and week out, eeking out a pathetic existence 'running' for a living.

If anyone knows our Minister of Tourism, please forward this e mail to him !!