Officials manning the Beitbridge Border Post and the entire frontier from Chikwalakwala to Shashe are facing a lot of challenges that affect their efficiency, making them susceptible to corruption.
It emerged during a visit to the area by the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services Portfolio Committee that police officers deployed to patrol the Zimbabwe-South African border area stretching over 200km have not been paid their travel and subsistence allowances since 2007 and are now vulnerable to corruption.
In his submission, Officer Commanding ZRP Beitbridge, Tichaona Nyongo said his teams also have no vehicles and radio communications to effectively discharge their duties.
“We have challenges and when people say our officers are corrupt, it is difficult to defend them because they are deployed without payment, so sometimes it could be that they will be trying to make ends meet. And also, we don’t have vehicles to patrol the over 200km of the border area and this needs urgent attention,” he said.
Security organs at the port of entry said they need scanners in order to detect drugs which pass through the border hidden in vehicles.
“We have immigration officers who are overworked but with no incentives, so while work is done, the issue of incentives is critical for the workers,” Assistant Regional Immigration Officer, Mrs Memory Mgwagwa said.
In an interview after the tour of facilities, committee Chairperson, Mr Levy Mayihlome said they will make recommendations to improve border security and working conditions.
“We are happy with our findings and there is need for urgent interventions, so we will do that to ensure operations are improved because policing of the frontier is vital for national security,” said Mr Mayihlome.
Calls were also made to speed up border re-development, including construction of physical barriers to manage motorists, especially those who drive through boom gates in a bid to evade paying duty.