The Zimbabwean government on Wednesday started to issue longer-dated temporary travel documents good for six months, replacing the previous 21-day documents in a move to harmonize such documents with a change in South African law allowing longer visits.
The new document, said to meet international standards, is machine-readable like a passport and has advanced security features including invisible markings that only special customs machines can detect.
Home Affairs Co-Minister Giles Mutsekwa said the new documents were needed after South Africa modified its policy to allow a stay of up to 90 days in the country, rendering the three-week documents obsolete.
Zimbabwean officials had been stamping and signing the old documents to extend their life, but the South African customs service rejected many such documents at the turn of the year, stranding travelers.
Minister Mutsekwa says the new documents should make life easier for Zimbabweans on the move.
Elsewhere, 10 people died as the result of a crash late Tuesday on the highway from the Zimbabwe-Zambia border crossing at Chirundu to Harare when a bus on its way to South Africa collided with a truck on its way to Zambia with a cargo of fertilizer. Police said the bus driver was trying to pass another vehicle.
Police Inspector Tigere Chigome told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that accidents on Zimbabwe's highways are becoming more frequent because drivers disregard warnings to drive safely on the deteriorating roadways. He said safe-driving campaigns appear to be falling on deaf ears as motorists speed up after passing police check-points, resulting in accidents.