DELAYS in clearing cargo on haulage trucks at the Beitbridge border post have cost operators more than R700 million.
This was said by Road Freight Association (RFA) CEO Gavin Kelly following the death of four truck drivers due to exhaustion at the border post.
The congestion has been described as the worst in the history of the often busy border post.
Queues of trucks and other vehicles are reaching 20km in both directions at the Musina, Limpopo, border crossing — and truck drivers are taking up to nine days to get into Zimbabwe, according to the Road Freight Association (RFA).
Speaking to South African media, Kelly said most drivers were not sitting in their trucks but were continuously walking up and down the queue trying to investigate the cause of delays, while others were fighting those who try to bribe their way through.
“Criminals are also taking advantage of the situation and trucks and trailers are being broken into and looted,” Kelly said.
The association also expressed concern at say that some drivers paid up to R1,000 to skip the queue.
“The more you pay, the better your chance to get clear to the front. Those who stand innocently in queue waiting their turn stand for weeks in the same position. This dire situation cannot continue – it is affecting the lives of our drivers, the surrounding areas, consumers and business.
“The delays have cost more than R700m to date and this figure is going to increase substantially. This crisis could have been avoided. We call on government to take speedy action to address this,” said the RFA.