KNOW THE RESTRICTIONS: Protests at the Beit Bridge border were prompted by the implementation of strict import regulations by Harare. Know the travel regulations before attempting to cross the border. Image: iStock
Johannesburg - The Automobile Association (AA) has warned South African 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.
The Association noted: “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.”
READ: Caught in violent protests? What SA motorists should do
What are the regulations?
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 July 2016, are outlined in an amendment to the Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 (Control of Goods), and published in the Zimbabwean Government Gazette on June 18.
This notice prohibits the importation of a number of items such coffee creamers, baked beans, potato crisps, peanut butter, flavoured milks, canned fruits and vegetables, wheelbarrows, doors, and windows.
Click here for a complete list of restricted items
Click here for more information regarding the restrictions
How can drivers, travellers keep up to date with the situation?
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.
Have you encountered protests at Beitbridge border crossing? Have you experienced protests while crossing the border? Email us and we'll publish your story.
The AA adds: “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."
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.
READ: Zimbabwe: Budget-friendly escapes for South Africans