Hundreds of travellers at the Lebombo Border Post, linking Mozambique and South Africa, are still frustrated as they are forced to queue for too long waiting to go through the border. Authorities confirmed that the long queues are caused by the COVID-19 testing procedure.
Migrant workers returning to work in South Africa are obliged to queue waiting to be cleared and tested for COVID-19 before they are allowed into the country.
Travellers call on improved the COVID-19 services rendered at the Lebombo Border Post:
Government has deployed 20 health officials to screen travellers at the Lebombo border.
But the process is tedious and very slow. Some of the travellers claim that they have been queuing for days waiting to cross the border.
South African authorities, however, say the traffic jam on the Mozambican side has now been reduced from 20km to 6km since last Wednesday. But the COVID-19 testing process remains a challenge.
Lebombo Border Post Mananger, Obed Maditsi, says they are facing a daunting task.
“We are very much concerned because you see this queue during this time, it is normal. Before COVID-19, we will have this queues and on, daily we will process between 8 000 and 10n 000 per day. But because of this COVID-19 protocols, tour processing range goes between 3 000 and 5 000. As you can see that we have a shortfall of about 5 000, which we could have done in normal in a normal process.”
On Saturday, over 75 positive cases have been recorded at this port of entry and all were Mozambicans and they were returned back home. As many sectors are re-opening on Monday, the road networks will also be congested with traffic.
Community Safety, Security and Liaison spokesperson, Moeti Mmusi, says traffic was flowing well.
“As most people would be expected to be returning to work, traffic flow on most roads of the province is going relatively smooth such that there are no too many vehicles. We were counting about 400 to 500 per hour on most roads in the province. Roads such as N4, N12, N17, R573, R570 and N2 amongst others so we are once again encouraging motorists who would driving back to virus destinations in and outside the province to use the road as cautiously as possible so that they arrive safely wherever they are going.”
The authorities have called on the public to always wear their masks to minimise the risk of contracting the virus as well as spreading it.
The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs is also expected to visit both Beitbridge and Lebombo ports of entry this week in an effort to ascertain progress on the alleviation of challenges that led to delays that created the congestion.