Travellers happy with screening at SA border posts

There are 62 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa.
Travellers entering the country from Zimbabwe through the Beitbridge Border Post, outside Musina in Limpopo, say they are happy about the screening for coronavirus and other diseases.

Six smaller border posts between South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe are closed in Limpopo.

Travellers are now using only Groblersbrug to Botswana and Beitbridge to Zimbabwe. They say at the Zimbabwean side of the border, they were also given disinfectants, soap and water.

“We are very happy about what is happening at the border. They are checking for coronavirus. Both borders Zimbabwean side and South African side, they are both checking. Zimbabwean side, they are giving some sanitary towels, soup and some washing powders.”

Mixed feelings over closure of borders
Meanwhile, farmers in Limpopo near the borders which have been closed as part of travel ban to control the spread of coronavirus have mixed feelings about the closure.

Pondrift, Zanzibar and Platjan borders into Botswana are some of the borders closed following President’s Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday.

The Savannah Bushland Valley, near the Limpopo River, which borders South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, is full of game and crop farms. Trophy hunters, mainly from overseas visit the farms annually to hunt.

Crop farmers say customers from Botswana cross daily to buy fresh produce on the farms.

The business activities may be affected by the closure. Some farmers say their businesses will be hurt, while others welcome the closure.

Crop farmer, Dannie du Plessis, whose farm is just a stone throw away from the Platjan Border Post into Botswana, welcomes the measures to control travellers.

“It is very important for the government to stop people from Europe because the infection in Europe is very high. So, we don’t want coronavirus in Africa. For the game farms, it will be a problem for them because people come here, but later on, if the virus is under control, the people can come again for hunting.”

A game farmer who also runs a poultry farm in Alldays, Hannes Venter, says customers from Botswana used to cross through Pondrift and Platjan Border Posts to come and buy chicken.

He says the business is now uncertain with the closure of the borders. He says his granddaughter has a game farm and relies on Americans and Europeans who often come for trophy hunting.

“For me, there is no problem, but I think it will be a very bad thing for South Africa, but if you close it, what about the shooting; people we work with, the Americans? We were busy with the Russians this weekend. They shot some animals. They were back last night. She cried she said, ‘Oupa, I don’t know what I will do.’ She can’t do anything.”

There is no sign of an increase in travellers using the Beit bridge Border following the closure of the small border posts in Limpopo.