LIMPOPO- Limpopo transport authorities say extra traffic officers, including some from the National Road Traffic Management Corporation, have been sent to the Beitbridge border with Zimbabwe to speed up processing trucks.
The trucks have formed a more than 10-kilometer long queue outside the border on the N1. Truck drivers say they spend days waiting for their papers to be processed.
They are worried that it is not safe, especially at night, as some of them become victims of crime. There is also no water nor ablution facilities. One of the truck drivers says they are getting frustrated by the delays.
“There is magum guma coming here, hey give me money, give me money. This year is not good. The delay is too much. It’s just two to three days. Aah, I don’t know what is the problem with those officers in Zimbabwean side of South African side they are working slow.”
Another truck driver, Michael Moyo, who is traveling from Johannesburg to Harare says Beitbridge border is losing millions of rands in fees as some drivers sometimes turn back. He has also expressed concerns about their safety.
“Well, I come from Joburg. (I) have to wait for two or three days. They are losing a lot of money because it looks like they are not caring and yet it is the big border. Other trucks are gonna use the other way round and by so doing, the money is gonna go somewhere.”
Meanwhile, some street vendors say a large number of travellers at the border post enables them to make a living.
The provincial traffic spokesperson Matome Moremi-Taueatsoala has apologised for the inconvenience but puts the blame on Zimbabwe.
“We have dispatched a team from head office in trying to deal with in the area Beitbridge. Though South Africa is on Level 1 lockdown but in Zimbabwe they are still little behind, which makes their employees knock off earlier. Around three or four, the customs in the side of Zimbabwe knock off. As a result, it makes those who had already crossed the border beyond three or four to start quitting and it comes back to South Africa. The movement can only happen in the morning when they come back to work. That is what is causing the problem, but we do apologise.”
The Beitbridge border post authorities say the trucks heading into other African countries up north use the Beitbridge border post as they avoid borders into Botswana. The authorities say since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of lockdown regulations, the number of trucks has increased at the border.