(2015-10-27) The Mozambican and South African governments are working to ensure that the main border post between the two countries, at Ressano Garcia, will operate 24 hours a day.
The decision was taken last week in the talks between delegations headed by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, during Nyusi’s state visit to South Africa.
The border post is normally open between 06.00 and 24.00 – however, at peak periods, such as the Christmas and New Year holiday period it opens for 24 hours a day.
A further measure to ease movement between the two countries is the decision taken, at the first meeting of the Mozambique-South Africa Binational Commission, to extend the time during which citizens of one country can remain in the other without an entry visa from 30 to 90 days.
Nyusi told a meeting with members of the Mozambican community in South Africa that these measures should take effect as from June next year. He said that the measures taken by the Binational Commission open a new cycle of cooperation with South Africa, as a strategic partner of Mozambique.
A representative of the Mozambican Interior Ministry told the meeting that, as part of the government’s attempts to respond to concerns of Mozambicans living in the diaspora, since February 33,555 travel documents and about 3,000 biometric identity cards have been issued to Mozambican citizens in South Africa.
Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi said that it was not the Mozambican or the South African government that had decided to do away with the emergency travel documents or the old-style passports, and blamed this on “an international decision”.
“Nowhere in the world, not even in Mozambique, are documents accepted that are not biometric”, he claimed. He urged all Mozambicans living in South Africa to apply for biometric passports and identity cards through the brigades which the government has sent to South Africa.
Apart from the question of documentation, migrants who spoke at the meeting complained of the pensions paid to Mozambican miners on the South African mines after they retire, and of the unfavorable rand/metical exchange rate used for the deferred wages they pick up when they return to Mozambique. They also complained of the harassment they face from some Mozambican customs officials and police, particularly during the festive season.
Nyusi replied that the question of the exchange rate is being dealt with by the banks to ensure that Mozambicans in South Africa are not treated unfairly. As for the police, he stressed “the police exist to help citizens, not to inconvenience them”.
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