It has been yet another tough day at the Ficksburg border between Lesotho and South Africa. Frustrated holidaymakers had to brave the sweltering heat and long queues before they could be processed.
Lesotho has introduced an “Orange level” lockdown, which is less stringent than “Red level,” almost equivalent to Alert Level 5 lockdown in South Africa.
Only Basotho with negative COVID-19 certificates and work permits can cross into South Africa.
Non-essential travel restricted in Lesotho to curb COVID-19 infections:
Exhausted travellers have appealed to the Lesotho and South African governments to speed up processes at the Ficksburg border.
Although traffic congestion has eased at the border gates since the announcement of Lesotho’s Orange level lockdown, travellers are concerned about continued delays.
“We are unable to cross over to go to work, we have been waiting here since Monday. Lesotho is failing to deliver but we have voted. We are even hungry,” one traveller says.
“We are struggling when we have to cross to South Africa, our country is failing us. My view is that these two countries should be merged,” says another traveller.
Lesotho police have found seven bodies of people who tried to cross the border in Ficksburg illegally:
Both countries working together
Free State Health MEC, Montseng Tsiu, says both countries are working together to control movements at the border gates.
“The meeting resolved that Lesotho will start testing from their side of the border using the same test kits as HNLS to assist in reducing the cue. There is better management of the queues and the movement is much better as Lesotho has already started testing. Development are that the Minister of Lesotho will provide transport for Basotho that test positive to be transported to the quarantine sides as before and after testing, they will just go back to the public transport and that was spoiling the virus.”
Law enforcement officials have been placed at different routes leading to both the Maseru and Ficksburg borders.