The authorities in the North West say they have re-opened the Kopfontein Border near Zeerust.
This is after the border was closed due to a COVID-19 case. As a result, the adjoining Tlokweng Border Post in Botswana was also temporarily closed, leading to long queues at the Ramatlabama and Skilpadshek border posts.
The Kopfontein Border post was temporarily closed for decontamination on Thursday, after a confirmed coronavirus case was reported. This led to traffic being redirected to the the Kopfontein Border post was temporarily closed for decontamination on Thursday, after a confirmed coronavirus case was reported near Mahikeng, causing heavy congestion.
Trucks formed an almost eight kilometre-long queue.
Some truck drivers say they have been in the queue since Wednesday night.
“I am from Namibia- Katima. I came with my COVID certificate but now by the gate where I go through, there has been delays. It is valid for 72 hours, now the queue has affected my days,” says a driver.
“I am coming from Lichternburg going to Namibia. I have been here since yesterday night to now. The traffic is slow and I need to drive many kilos. I was supposed to offload today but I’m late,” says another drive.
Normal traffic flows at Kopfontein Border Post
Traffic officials worked hard to ensure a smooth flow of traffic, as well as enforcing compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
Director for the Road Traffic Management Corporation Paul Stone says, “We are here to make sure that everything goes well because it is a concern to us and the other concern is that COVID might spread while we have these people in congested areas. We want to make sure the traffic flow is fast. In the other country Botswana for example, they did not have the capacity to do a smooth transfer of trucks from our side to their side, so now the challenge is sorted – although it’s still slow.”
Law enforcement authorities have advised cargo truck drivers who normally use the Kopfontein Border Post to not go to the Ramatlabama Border Post. Provincial Police Commissioner, General Patrick Asaneng, says the Kopfontein Border Post is back in operation.
“Following the decontamination of the Kopfontein Border Post, the Border has since been reopened as from 6am this morning, and we will then make sure that we as speedily as possible process all the trucks that are on the Ramatlabama side. We want to request and urge and advice those people, truck drivers who normally use Kopfontein to not come to Ramatlabama anymore,” says Asaneng.
South African authorities say they will work with their Botswana counterparts to speed up the process to avoid congestion which could lead to the spread of COVID-19.
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