Limpopo – More people have died whilst waiting on the queue to cross Beitbridge Border Post, the congestion there is described as the worst in the history.
Road Freight Association (RFA) said their drivers died “in their trucks due to dire situation and conditions – with unconfirmed reports of another seven from local SAPS authorities.”
The queue at the Musina, Limpopo, border crossing is devastating as the vehicles there are reaching 20km.
According to RAF, drivers are taking about nine (9) days to get into Zimbabwe.
According to RFA CEO, Gavin Kelly, the queue is devastating and it’s on both sides, in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“The freight situation is desperate.. This is the worst in the history of Beitbridge. Queues stretch out from the border to Musina on the South African side and on the Zimbabwe side along the Beitbridge-Garage highway and the Bulawayo road,” said Kelly.
RFA CEO strongly believes that, the congestion is caused by the Covid-19 checks and the implementation of the curfew in the country, worsened this.
“Trucks are on every street and all over in the surrounding towns.Though congestion at Beitbridge has been a challenge for sometime, the Covid-19 checks and curfews have severely worsened this. With proper planning, this nightmare could have been avoided,” Kelly added.
Provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed the deaths of five people.
Kelly Said, “exhaustion is a reality and this affects the ability to function effectively and drive safely. Drivers are not able to perform at their best and therefore safety is compromised. This is a serious concern. Criminals are also taking advantage of the situation, and trucks and trailers are being broken into and looted.”
The association said some of their drivers had to pay almost R1,000 to move past the queue. And the delays have cost the association a lot, talking about R700m.
“The more you pay, the more your chance to get clear to the front. Those who stand innocently in queue waiting their turn, stand for weeks in the same position. This dire situation cannot continue – it is affecting the lives of our drivers, the surrounding areas, consumers and business. The delays have cost more than R700m to date and this figure is going to increase substantially. This crises have been avoided. We call on government to take speedy action to address this,” said the RFA.