- The Department of Health has attempted to ease the strain facing Beitbridge border post commuters
- After a number of fatalities were reported, the government has seemingly tried to limit the time spent crossing into Zimbabwe
- This comes after the queues were reaching a town over 14 kilometres away from the post
The Department of Health has opted to suspend Covid-19 screening for truck drivers at Beitbridge border in an attempt to bring order into the chaos.
The queues, stretching over 20km and taking up to nine days to cross, have been making headlines lately.
Department DG Sandile Buthelezi commented that the situation has been confusing for the state:
“Initially they were raising issues that there was a long time being taken in terms of the Covid screening and testing. One thing that was confusing for us was that the main backlog was on the outgoing trucks and we don’t require a test when going out of the country, so we were only doing the temperature screening and filling in the forms."
eNCA reports that Buthelezi had noted that this had done little to ease the situation with the politician continuing to say that:
“But even then we decided that just to ensure that there is a flow, we suspended even that part of it. But then they complained that when they come back to the country they have to do the testing. So the responsibility has been give to the trucking industry to ensure that the validity period for a test is 30 days."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the situation at Beitbridge Border Post had escalated with four additional fatalities reported on Christmas Eve.
The truck drivers passed away while waiting in a queue that is predicted to be at least 20 kilometres long on both sides of the border.
The extreme heat, a lack of ablution facilities, food and water are all highlighted as contributing factors to the deaths.
Drivers are often unable to leave their vehicles due to a mixture of security concerns and a fear of losing their spot in the line.
Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association, who has described the deaths as unnecessary. Kelly explained that the border is bustling every festive season as foreign nationals working in South Africa return home for the holidays.
The expert is adamant that this should have prompted the government to plan properly in order to avoid the situation which has seen the delays prolonged for days.
The publication reports that at least 11 other people have died earlier this week while attempting to enter Zimbabwe.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!