Immigration says now ready for border opening despite Covid-19 menace

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By Anna Chibamu

ZIMBABWE’S Immigration Department says it is ready for the reopening of the country’s land borders despite the continued health challenges brought by Covud-19.

Giving oral evidence before parliament’s the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Committee on Monday, Chief Immigration Director Respect Gono said some processes and operations had been restored to reduce the anticipated congestion at the country’s border posts.

“Prevailing outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic forced governments across the world to adopt measures that caused unprecedented disruption to global mobility through travel restriction. The department was not spared.

“The department has now resumed some immigration processes and operations in tandem with the gradual easing of the national lockdown and the re-opening of borders by other countries,” Gono said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa pronounced the national lockdown in March this year also stopped international travels.

However, after the lengthy period, the country’s borders will finally re-open early December.

Gono however bemoaned the continued breaking down of computers systems with staff often resorting to doing the work manually.

“BMS leaves a lot to be desired. We are humbly requesting your support. We currently have a service level agreement with Afrosoft which runs most of the department’s online visa application platform.

“Most of the work at Immigration is done manually owing to two factors; namely system’s inherent shortcomings and frequent breakdowns,” he said.

Gono also said the department was also putting in place some measures to deal with corruption.

“We are currently, in the process of moving our senior officers throughout the country as part of efforts to curtail the scourge.”