By Staff Reporter
TRADERS have blamed the Zimbabwe government for the costly congestion being experienced at the Beitbridge border post over the Christmas holidays.
This follows reported deaths on 15 persons who include truck drivers who have waited endlessly over days to be cleared at the border post.
There are long vehicular queues on either side of the busy border post with up to 14 km long ones on the South African side.
Hundreds of trucks, buses, taxis and small vehicles remained queued at the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe this Christmas Day, attempting to get to the port of entry which has been congested for several days.
Speaking on SABC Friday, the International Cross-Border Traders’ Association (ICTA) president Denis Juru blamed the snarl up on Zimbabwean authorities.
“I would like to condemn this Zimbabwean government because when the SA government announced that they are going to open their borders, they were citing the festive season,” he said.
“The Zimbabwe government failed to open the border entirely and all the people who have been locked in SA have been waiting for the borders to be reopened and this is not about travelling or holidays only, but it is also about people escaping SA. They have been locked in SA without money, work or food. This is the situation we have because Zimbabwe failed to open their borders.”
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Harare has engaged South African authorities on how best to decongest Beitbridge border post.
“…Decongestion measures are being implemented to create safe zones in our border areas. These measures will include the setting up of check points prior to arrival at the border posts,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said, “The National Taskforce on COVID-19 continues to monitor the situation in the country especially in view of high traffic flows during the festive season.
“High level meetings have been held between Zimbabwe and South Africa, as part of efforts to address challenges and ensure the smooth flow of traffic at Beit Bridge border post.”