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Mhlumeni border operates 24 hours after 5-year wait

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MHLUMENI – Minister of Home Affairs Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze officially opened the Mhlumeni border to operate 24 hours.

MHLUMENI – Minister of Home Affairs Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze officially opened the Mhlumeni border to operate 24 hours.

At exactly 11am, the border was officially declared to operate on a 24 hour basis. During the launch, which was attended by Mozambican Minister of Interior and also overseeing the police, Jose Pacheco the chief said the launch was long overdue.

“Plans to operate this border on a 24-hour basis have been in existence since September 4, 2004 when the border was reopened. It was only after His Majesty gave an ultimatum for September 1, 2009 that we have achieved this,” said the minister. He told the throngs of people who had gathered at the border that the launch marked a milestone which was but a dream for his predecessors.

He said preparations for the launch had taken five years. He credited the success of the whole project to what he termed the wise leadership of the two countries and complemented both His Majesty King Mswati III and President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique. He explained that had it not been for the ultimatum given by the king for the border to operate for 24 hours this month, it would have remained a dream.

Gamedze also said this would go a long way to prove that the country had an inclination to the Southern African Development Commission (SADC). He noted that opening the border for 24 hours would mean less accidents, explaining that most of these accidents were caused by motorists who were in a rush to get to the border post before closing time.

“This will mean a smooth flow of traffic and will create favourable conditions for business between the two countries,” he said. He added that this would mean more jobs as more people would now be required to work at the border. The chief, however, lamented that the border was known for allowing illegal substances to pass through, not intentional though. He also said, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” after complaining that there were some people who were pocketing money that was meant for government.

He said certain people were depositing government funds into their accounts. He further warned that the perpetrators of such illegal activities would be brought to book.

The minister commended his Mozambican counterpart, Minister Jose Pacheco and added that they had been working hand in hand to make the launch a success. He said the border could help make the area a tourist centre and reminded residents that if such was to be achieved, the ball was in their hands.

Minister Pacheco said a lot of work had been put into the project, including the upgrading of the immigration offices. “The opening of this border will also strengthen the historical relationship between the two countries,” said the minister.

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