AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding at South Africa’s borders with Zimbabwe and Mozambique where hundreds of people – including children – have spent four days in kilometres long queues, trying to get home for Christmas.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that a Zimbabwean woman died between Musina and the Beit Bridge border, whilst waiting to cross.
South African non-governmental organisations yesterday called for the provision of water, food and sanitation services to the stranded Zimbabweans and Mozambicans who face the threat of spending Christmas on the road, between home and their places of employment.
The long queues of trucks transporting goods, busses, taxis and private cars transporting people have been the strict COVID-19 protocols put in place by the South African government. In terms of the COVID-19 regulations, drivers and passengers need COVID-19 certificates that are not older than 72 hours before being allowed to cross the border.
Zimbabweans took to social media to express their frustrations. Some called on the South African authorities to intervene and resolve the crisis.
Professor Thuli Madonsela, a social justice activist and former Public Protector, took to Twitter to call for non-governmental organisations to help with basic needs such as water and food.
South African Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi blamed the chaos on truck drivers.
Motsoaledi said most truck drivers did not have documentation required to cross the border and blocked all other travellers.
The Minister told SABCNews: “If you go to Beitbridge now, our people are idling there at the border because the theatre of war is not at the border with customs or Home Affairs. It’s on the road where the truckers have blocked while they don’t have documents to pass through. Take them back to Musina, let the truck drivers do administration. They are in the holding areas. Then they will leave the road free. Then all the other pedestrians will not find the congestion. If the truck drivers were playing the game by the rules, we wouldn’t be having this congestion that is there.”