Truck drivers at the Beitbridge Border Post in Musina, Limpopo, say they expect President Cyril Ramaphosa to come up with measures in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to resolve the truck traffic congestion at the border.
Long queues of trucks have again formed on the N1 towards the border after the problem was resolved in January. Some of the truck drivers who have been stuck in the queue for three days say President Ramaphosa must intervene to ease the congestion.
“We can be very happy if the President can talk about this problem. We can be very happy, maybe they can understand. The President must say something because you can see that we are suffering here, moreover these trucks are making money here in South Africa,” says one driver.
“We want the President to address and to check what is the problem at the border. The problem is there at the weighbridge. It is better to block it because we are weighing if they can give us the tickets that we are weighing from Joburg to here. The tones cannot be different,” adds another driver.
Truck drivers say the situation is frustrating as they do not have information on what is causing the congestion.
“I’m one of the drivers who are stuck here. Now I’m here two days in the queue. We don’t know what happened there at the border here. We are suffering… there’s no water. We are just suffering I’m going to Malawi. This side they are saying it is on the Zimbabwean side and Zimbabwean side they are saying it is on the South African side. So we don’t exactly what is happening,” says one driver.
Jacob Matakanye of Musina Legal Advice Office, which provides assistance to immigrants, shares the truck drivers’ sentiments.
“We are expecting President today to give more attention to the situation at the border if you can check from last year December until now we still have a problem of trucks staying for days it affects people who are driving trucks,” Matakanye says.
SONA expectations regarding immigration issues at Beitbridge:
Home Affairs Director of Ports of Entry, Stephen Van Neel, says the long queues of trucks at the border post is a result of the temporary closure of the Groblersbrug Border Post to Botswana. Van Neel says the border post has been temporarily closed due to floods.
“There’s extra traffic on the N1 going into the Beitbridge. We have Grobbler’s bridge at the moment temporarily closed it maybe the day before yesterday. The engineers are working and due to the fact that floods have impacted operations at Grobbler’s bridge we expected that there’s likely increase of movement,” he adds.
Home Affairs says a contractor is already on-site fixing the damage caused by the floods.