South Africa’s Road Freight Association (RFA) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to rectify and resolve what it described as an unacceptable crisis at the busy border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Four truck drivers are reported to have died at the Beitbridge Border Post over the past few days due to fatigue and exhaustion as there are no facilities or amenities to accommodate them along with thousands of other travellers.
In a statement on Thursday, RFA chief executive, Gavin Kelly, said the situation was “desperate”, with truck parks packed to capacity as well as streets in surrounding towns. He said:
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The RFA is aware of at least four drivers who have died in their trucks due to the dire situation and conditions – with unconfirmed reports of another seven from local SAPS authorities.
Moreover, there are no facilities or amenities to make the delays more manageable or to provide much-needed relief.
There is no food and there is no water to drink or to bath. There are also no ablution facilities
Kelly said drivers queuing at the border were exposed to many risks and dangers because they were not sitting in their trucks but loitering around trying to investigate what was causing the delays.
He added that exhaustion also compromises drivers’ ability to function effectively and drive safely and this compromises safety.
Some drivers have reportedly resorted to bribing traffic officials with amounts up to R1 000 to skip the long queue.