| LIMPOPO

Truckers wait days to cross border into Zimbabwe

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“Before lockdown it used to be almost two hours before I crossed into Zimbabwe”

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Truckers wait in very long queues to cross into Zimbabwe at Beitbridge border post since the Covid-19 lockdown started. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare.

Truck drivers using the South African-Zimbabwe Beitbridge border post say that since the Covid-19 lockdown started, it can take them days to get through.

Trucks going to Zimbabwe, Zambia and the DRC use the post. When Groundup visited on Wednesday, the queue was about a kilometre long and the wait about two days. A week ago it stretched almost 10km into South Africa from Beitbridge and took five days to get through.

“I joined the queue at 11pm Saturday evening. Now, it’s 10am Sunday morning. I have not moved even 100 metres. I have to keep awake … so that I do not block other drivers. Just imagine spending two days without proper resting,” Audicious Mudzviti, a driver for the Jumbo Company, told GroundUp last week.

Another driver, Frank Moyo, who has worked for the past ten years for the Hatricee Company, said, “Before lockdown it used to be almost two hours before I crossed into Zimbabwe. Now it’s almost a week. From Johannesburg to Zambia a single trip is almost two weeks.”

He said he used to do up to three trips between Johannesburg and Zambia, but nowdays only manage one in the same period of time.

“I have no time for my family, which is in Harare,” he said.

Drivers can spend a week without a proper bath.

Before lockdown most drivers said they spent about R200 on food on a trip. They used to buy from food stalls at the border, but these were closed under Covid-19 regulations. They end up spending closer to R700, buying food in Musina or at a truck stop shop at Beitbridge for the long wait.

Some drivers said they were also vulnerable to criminals as they waited for days in the queue.

“Always stay next to your vehicle,” Limpopo MEC for Transport and Community Safety Lerule Ramakhanya advised drivers.

On Wednesday she told GroundUp: “We are still on lockdown and we have to check Covid-19 compliance with truck drivers – face masks and we have to screen them … We also have to be stricter on what we do for the safety of both the drivers and the countries they will be travelling to, hence we have the long queues.”

She urged drivers to be patient.

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TOPICS:  Covid-19 Transport

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