Crisis at Lebombo border costing freight industry over R33m daily

Crisis at Lebombo border costing freight industry over R33m daily

- Motorists attempting to cross the Lebombo border are facing the daunting task of 25km queues

- The post connects Mozambique and South Africa is facing a crisis with high temperatures and a lack of running water

- In addition to the dangers facing motorists the freight industry has lost an estimated R166 million due to the delays

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South African border posts are feeling the strain of the Covid-19 restrictions and the latest crisis is taking place at Lebombo Border.


The situation at the border has been labelled a disaster. Image: @MxolisiBob
Source: Twitter

The situation has been described as a disaster with both lives and livelihoods hanging in the balance.

A lack of ablution facilities and even running water has made delays exceeding six days close to unbearable for commuters.

BusinessInsider reports that the border post is severely understaffed despite the Department of Home Affairs committing more resources.

The queues stretch for over 25km with temperatures exceeding 32°C as travellers seek to either escape hard lockdowns in other African countries or attempting to return to work in SA.

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Freight associations, losing over R33 million daily, had blamed the situation on the government's failure to ensure Covid-19 protocols mesh with the number of people needed to test and screen.

Mike Fitzmaurice, CEO of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations, has commented that staff are overwhelmed and struggling to cope:

“What is more concerning is that they have also stated that the additional manpower promised by the minister of home affairs has not materialised.”

With trucks battling to cross the border, the industry has seen what would have been four loads reduced to one over the same period in time.

What has added to the situation is that testing stations close for decontamination, a process that can take hours, every time someone tests positive.

Officials testing positive amid a lack of social distancing and mask-waring, the concern is that the borders will quickly prove to be 'super-spreader events'.

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Earlier, reported that a similar situation had been reported at the Beitbridge border post which connects South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Massive queues and a lack of facilities had resulted in fatalities, prompting the government to relax Covid-19 protocols in an attempt to move commuters through the passage into the rest of Africa.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had blamed the situation at the time on truck drivers attempting to flee lockdown.

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