Traffic volumes at the Beit Bridge Border Post in Limpopo are rising as travellers head home for festive holidays. Traffic was backed up for as far 12 kilometres between Musina and the border post.
Beit Bridge is a gateway to many African countries. Some travellers have been in the queue for over 3 days, exposed to a broiling heat and criminals.
Traffic volumes started increasing on Sunday and continued this Monday.
Traffic officials appear unable to control traffic as trucks and small vehicles heading north towards Zimbabwe occupy both lanes. Some motorists say they have been in the queue for several days.
It has been a long wait for these travellers who have not been home since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown early this year. There is no sign that the long wait will end any time soon.
The traffic queue stretches for about 10 kilometres on the N1. Some of those coming into the country from Zimbabwe are walking to Musina to buy basics.
“I have about three days and another three days coming still in this queue. So we are not safe. We sleep here in the bush, no security, thieves can rob us here. We are from Joburg going to Malawi. Nothing is moving, the roads are narrow and this is one of the busiest roads in Africa. I think quick measures should be taken in assisting the movement of logistics, just to create a divert road – the other one for heavy trucks and the other one for small trucks,” says one of the motorists.
New plans to address congestion
A number of broken-down and over-loaded vehicles pulling trailers could also be seen along the N1. Transport spokesperson, Matome Moremi-Tauetsoala, says they are aware of traffic congestion at the border and will implement new plans to address it soon.
“We are aware of the pile up at the Beitbridge and our team from SAPS and traffic have re-strategised their plans and they will put them into action not so long. The matter will be addressed and also the Minister of Home Affairs will be making an announcement that will also enhance the plans that we have now. We are calling on motorists to be patient with each other in the meantime.”
Hundreds of people are illegally jumping the border fence and crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo River. Some people are using small boats to transport those crossing the borderline illegally. Home Affairs has not yet issued a comment about the situation at the border.
Traffic on the N1 Grasmere toll plaza picked up on Sunday with up to 1000 vehicles per hour passing through the toll gates: