The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has confirmed the existence of a wooden bridge that has been set up across the Limpopo River to facilitate the illegal movement of people and goods between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
This comes after media reports indicated that a pole and log structure that is being used for smuggling has been under construction for more than a week “before the eyes of the police”.
The bridge sidesteps the official crossing point, taking advantage of the fact that the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe remains closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said the bridge is on the South African side and they have since engaged the South African Police Service (SAPS) over the illegal structure. He said:
The ZRP has noted with concern media reports on the alleged illegal crossing “wooden bridge” in the Limpopo River in Beitbridge.
Checks have indeed revealed that this is on the SA side. The ZRP has since dispatched a team to engage our counterparts in the SAPS.
SAPS authorities have undertaken to dismantle the illegal crossing point. The two countries will ensure arrests are effected on anyone found to be responsible for the construction of this illegal “bridge”.
The builders regularly stop to “process” goods into Zimbabwe from South Africa for fees charged according to sizes of consignments.
Reports suggest that people are charged per individual between R10 and R100.