Delays frustrate truckers at Lebombo border gate

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Delays frustrate truckers at Lebombo border gate
BORDER DELAYS: Truck drivers accuse officials at the Lebombo Border of preferential treatment as they wait for days at the border. PICTURE BY Club of Mozambique

Drivers are forced to wait for days.


Truck drivers transporting goods between South Africa and Mozambique are being frustrated by delays at one of the country’s busiest border gates.

The delays happen as a result of a slow clearance process.

Monday this week scores of truck drivers protested at the Lebombo border post against the delays.

They accuse border officials of giving preferential treatment to certain truck drivers, while others are forced to spend several days before being cleared at the border, the SABC has reported.

The protesting drivers stopped trucks travelling from South Africa to Mozambique on Monday evening. 

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The truckers say at times they are forced to spend more than three days at the border gate simply because officials prioritise certain trucks and force others to wait.

“We are complaining because of SARS, they are not taking us seriously as truck drivers. The procedure is always fast for the tankers but slow for the side tipper trucks. But when we are coming from Maputo there is no delay, they take all the trucks seriously,” one truck driver told the public broadcaster.

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“There is a bribe here, because how do you allow someone to stay in the parking for three days?” another driver said.

“Where we are parking there are no toilets and showers,” added another driver.

Lebombo border manager Obed Maditsi said a lot is being done to minimise delays at this port of entry.

“For the past few weeks and few months, we have seen an increased number of truckers that are using this port of entry to cross into Maputo. 

“We’re also working tirelessly with other departments to ensure that we can facilitate their movement as quickly as possible. 

“We must also bear in mind that we are in a pandemic. So there are certain processes that are a little bit slow at the port. But we are working around the clock to ensure that we move with speed,” said Maditsi.

Customs manager at SARS’s Lebombo border gate office, Memory Ndou, said no truck driver is forced to stop by delays at SARS.

She said they are processing the truckers quicker and this is made simpler by the new electronic devices they use.

“We do the declaration electronically, then the trucks wait to proceed to port. So there is nothing that compels truck drivers from SARS processes to go and park seven kilometres away,” said Ndou.

(edited by MLM)

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