- The Department of Home Affairs has pleaded with truck drivers to avoid attempting to pass through the Beitbridge Border post
- The queues are stretching for kilometres and numerous fatalities have been reported
- This comes as authorities are attempting to ease congestion at the crossing into Zimbabwe
Home Affairs Director of Ports of Entry Stephen Van Neel has called on truck drivers to avoid using the Beitbridge Border post.
Van Neel asked that alternative ports of entry are used as hundreds of drivers are stuck in queues measuring kilometres long. Over ten people have been confirmed dead at the Limpopo border since 14 December.
Border officials are reportedly working towards clearing the backlog of trucks, with Van Neel commenting that:
“We have to see whether we can push transport to other ports. If we could be able to speak to the transport sector and truckers we would like to ask them to maybe use other ports of entry and offload some of the pressure on Beitbridge.”
SABC reported that only one traveller at a time is being processed inside the immigration office, while more than 10 officials are available to help process more.
While it seems as if the attention the crisis has been receiving somewhat aided in getting the ball moving at the border, many drivers remain frustrated as they attempt to move through the crossing.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that 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."
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."
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