Three lanes have been cleared at the Beitbridge border as of 18:00 on Thursday, the Department of Home Affairs told News24.
“[In a video taken at the time], three lanes have been cleared. Buses and travellers have been prioritised. The remaining lane is mostly trucks and they are being attended to,” spokesperson Siya Qoza said.
In an earlier update at 15:00, Qoza said the port was accessible and they were working on clearing the other two lanes.
Truck drivers and other commuters were reportedly queuing for hours to cross the border.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to urgently devise a contingency plan to address the “utter chaos” at the Beitbridge border control facility.
“It is reported that thousands have been left stranded for days on end, and two people have died from fatigue while waiting to cross the border to and from South Africa at the Beitbridge facility. This is absolutely unacceptable,” DA spokesperson Angel Khanyile said in a statement on Thursday.
The DA is of the view that the government should have factored in the seasonal migration of southern Africans across borders when formulating Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
“Failure to do so has not only caused dangerous levels of traffic congestion at the borders, but the potential for super-spreader hotspots, where thousands are now gathered at our country’s border facilities.
“We cannot have crowds of people stranded at entry points for days on end with no ablution or sanitising facilities in dangerously hot weather. This is an incredibly dangerous oversight by the government, which is tantamount to utter negligence,” Khanyile added.
RFA pleads for president to intervene
In addition, the Road Freight Agency (RFA) has pleaded with President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene, and to resolve the chaos at the border.
At least four truck drivers died as snaking long queues continued at the Beitbridge border, the RFA said on Thursday.
The association has now called on Ramaphosa to rectify what it describes as “an unacceptable crisis” at the busy border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
News24 reached out to the home affairs department, who supplied News24 with video footage captured at 15:00 and 18:00 on Thursday, showing an accessible port and lanes cleared at the border.
News24 has requested additional comment from the department. It will be added once received.
Source – news24