4 truck drivers die while waiting to cross Beitbridge border post

The circumstances surrounding their deaths are still unclear but there are growing concerns around what some say is an unfolding humanitarian crisis at the border to Zimbabwe.

FILE: The Beitbridge border post between South African and Zimbabwe. Picture: @HomeAffairsSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Road Freight Association said that four truck drivers had died while waiting to cross the Beitbridge border due to the conditions at the post.

The circumstances surrounding their deaths are still unclear but there are growing concerns around what some say is an unfolding humanitarian crisis at the border to Zimbabwe.

Thousands of people have been queuing in snaking lines stretching several kilometers as they try making their way home in time for Christmas.

READ: Home Affairs committee concerned by large number of travellers at Beitbridge

The association's Gavin Kelly: "It's absolutely shocking. You can imagine what the temperatures are there and now you're sitting inside a vehicle... truck temperatures reach 41°C, 42°C very, very quickly, you're now stuck in a queue kilometres away from the actual border post, you're stuck on a road where there's no water available, no toilets, there's nothing you can do but you've got to sit there as it inches forward, you've got to keep your place in the queue."

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that police reinforcements, including the army, had been deployed to the border where truck drivers had abandoned their vehicles.

The situation has been made worse by a protest involving truck drivers who are against strict COVID-19 regulations.

ALSO READ: Motsoaledi: we've deployed more soldiers, staff at Beitbridge border

Due to the pandemic, travellers have to produce a negative COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours before being allowed to cross the border.

Motsoaledi said that they were in talks with the Health Department to amend the restrictions for truck drivers.

"We must arrange that the truck drivers do the test with their companies once a month and it will be organised as such to make the situation much better."

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