Mpuma borders open 24hrs for Easter weekend

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
By: 
Mandla Khoza

Komatipoort - As of today, the border posts between South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland will operate 24 hours a day in a bid to ease traffic congestion ahead of the upcoming Easter weekend.

The South Africa Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee (BCOCC) in Mpumalanga announced that extra hours and additional staff would be added at the Lebombo border post into Mozambique and the Oshoek border post into Swaziland until 4 May.

"Additional staff has been deployed to the province's busiest ports of entry into Mozambique and Swaziland to prepare for the Easter holidays. As from Wednesday, the Lebombo and Oshoek posts will start operating for 24 hours," said acting provincial BCOCC coordinator Elda Ferreira.

Ferreira said the committee had held meetings with various government departments and representatives from South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland to discuss strategies on how to handle peak traffic volumes during the Easter holidays. 

She said that operational times would change in all the ports of entry, with some closing at midnight.

"All the other ports of entry will extend their operational hours which will be from their normal operational times and extend to close at 12 midnight from 21 April to 2 May," said Ferreira. 

Ferreira said that those travelling through the Lebombo border post in buses, taxis and trucks would be cleared at the Komatipoort Commercial Facility, 7km before the main port of entry, between April 20 and 25.

She said other ports of entry would clear people at their main gates and outside their offices where applicable.

"Crime prevention measures will be intensified and border officials will closely monitor the movement of goods and people," she said.

Ferreira said the National Border Coordination Centre (NBMCC), which deals with day-to-day operations at the ports of entry, was already coordinating operational measures.

"South African drivers who want to take their cars to Mozambique should have the vehicle's registration documents and, if the vehicle is financed by a bank, a letter from the bank authorising the driver to take it out of the country.

"If it is a company-owned vehicle, border officials need an authorisation letter with a company letterhead. This should include the vehicle's insurance," she said.

Travellers have been urged to note the following:

* No emergency passports will be issued at the borders during the Easter holidays.
* No person, including children, will be allowed through the borders without a valid passport that has at least one unused page. Foreigners entering South Africa should have a passport that is valid for 30 days after the expiry of the visit period.
* No agricultural products, including live animals even for personal consumption, will be allowed passage without a permit.
* No medicine will be allowed passage without a doctor's prescription, and only on condition that it lasts for 30 days.
* No person travelling from yellow fever countries like Angola, Congo, Nigeria and others will be allowed passage without a yellow fever certificate.
* No corpses will be allowed passage without a grant permit, which can be obtained at the Mpumalanga department of health and social services.
* No firearms will be allowed passage as members of the South African Police Service have also been stopped from carrying guns through the border posts.

"It should further be noted that Mpumalanga ports of entry, including neighbouring countries, do not have credit card facilities. This communication does not address all processes and requirements and it is advisable that before a person begins his or her journey he or she should consult the relevant departments for detailed information," said Ferreira.

For more information, travellers can go to www.sars.gov.za and click on the 'different provinces' ports of entry.' - BuaNews

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