Beitbridge border authorities say the truck congestion on the N1 is as a result of poor traffic management by officers. This follows a meeting between the traffic department, police, home affairs and clearing agencies. Trucks have formed a queue as long as 10 kilometers at the border post.
The situation on the N1 outside the border remains unchanged, with trucks still forming a long queue. The border authorities put the blame on traffic officers for failing to adequately control traffic. Truck drivers who did not have clearance papers from cargo clearing agencies were also on the N1 instead of waiting at various truck stops around Musina.
Director of ports of entry at the Home Affairs Department, Stephen van Neel, says the situation is concerning.
“Lawlessness mainly is what is happening on the N1 where we now found that truck lining up on the road to the border proceed to border without correct documents because this is at the end of the day traffic management issue. It is how do we regulate and manage the traffic flow into Beitbridge port of entry. So, what we agreed with transport this morning is that trucks who have not yet received clearance of receipt to port should not be on the road. They need to go into holding areas or parks that are available.”
Van Neel also says that the Zimbabwean side does not have the capacity to clear the high volume of trucks.
“There is a limited receiving capacity on the Zimbabwean side. We can push the number of truck say 50 or 60 per hour. The challenge is that the capacity is not there on the Zimbabwean side. So, we also want to engage Zimbabwe, and see how best we can assist in trying to get the trucks through and actually, clearly on the other side because what happens on the other side of the border has a direct impact on our side of the ports, we are putting a committee together and we hope this will be resolved in a shortest possible time.”
Authorities say that most truck drivers avoid using the borders into Botswana due to strict COVID-19 regulations. The Transport Department has since deployed extra traffic officers to assist.