BUSINESS nearly came to a standstill at Beitbridge Border Post on Wednesday morning when a suspected illegal migrant slipped and fell into the Limpopo River while walking on the “engineer’s track” under the Alfred Beit Bridge (Old Limpopo Bridge).
The bridge is 540 metres long and the woman fell into the water when she was halfway along the bridge at around 9am.
Travellers gathered on the New Limpopo Bridge to catch a glimpse of the woman as she laboured to escape from the crocodile danger zone.
The unidentified migrant was among a group of border jumpers heading to South Africa when the incident occurred.
According to one border official, the border jumper managed to swim across to South Africa.
“It was just her lucky day, that place is infested with crocodiles and sometimes hippopotamus,” said the source.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, he said recently that they had started with festive season operation named ‘Zizo Jika Izinto’ to combat crimes including illegal immigrants, drug peddlers, smugglers, armed robbers, illegal firearms, and those operating shebeens.
Col Ngoepe said the police hit the ground running from November 16 and that they will continue up to early next year.
So far, Col Ngoepe said they had arrested nearly 4 000 people for various offenses in Limpopo Province.
Since the start of the Covid-19 induced lockdowns in South Africa and Zimbabwe in March, illegal migration and smuggling has become rife at crossing points a few metres away from the main port of entry.
Common illegal crossing points are Spillway (500 metres east of border), Dulivhadzimu Gorge (3km west of border) and the railway line at the Old Limpopo Bridge.
The police and other security agencies have been carrying out periodic raids at these points.
Chronicle also understands that the Department of Immigration (Beitbridge) has intercepted 313 people from 1 December to date for illegal migration.
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— Chronicle/Latest News Africa