PSA strike has little impact at busiest borders

Trucks pass through SA, Zim gates without any hindrance on both sides

- By Mandla Khoza and Zoe Mahopo

While the national strike by the Public Servants Associatio­n of SA (PSA) disrupted services at government offices last week, it seems to have made little impact at Beitbridge and Lebombo borders, SA’s busiest exit and entry points.

Government workers affiliated to PSA took to the streets on Thursday demanding a 10% salary increase from the state. Their downing of tools saw several offices

mainly home affairs, labour and traffic offices being closed for several hours. There were reports of long queues of trucks forming at the Lebombo gate in Mpumalanga.

Sowetan visited both borders at the weekend and it seemed to be business as usual except for glitches caused by loadsheddi­ng at Beitbridge near Musina, Limpopo.

On Friday, trucks and cars were frequently passing through the gates between Zimbabwe and SA without hindrance, while travellers carrying parcels could be seen getting into cross-border taxis near the busy market.

Most locals said there had been a slight delay on Thursday due to a power outage but after 9am it was business as usual, with travellers from both sides going through.

Taxi driver Kenneth Ndou said there had been nothing out of the usual except for a short delay the previous morning.

“Home affairs officials were not able to process travellers because the system was down for a few hours, but after that things were back to normal. Even today [Friday] people are coming through without any problem,” Ndou said.

Hawker Johannes Mariba, who sells his wares near the border and travels between SA and Zimbabwe, also said things seemed to be moving along as usual.

“We were told that our passports could not be stamped and processed because of a problem with the system and we had to wait for a while. But to be honest, I have not seen any problems since then,” Mariba said.

There was little impact also in Lebombo near Komatipoor­t in Mpumalanga.

Truck drivers who spoke to Sowetan on Saturday said they experience­d minor delays at the border post and were worried that this would affect their pay at the end of the month. Many were travelling to Mozambique to deliver goods.

“As you can see there are queues because workers are on a go-slow. What frustrates us is that now we are getting closer to Christmas time and we need to have money for our families, but these delays are chowing on our pockets.

“I hope they [workers] resolve their issues as soon as possible because if we don’t take enough load across, our pay will be affected,” said truck driver Dumisani Magagula.

I hope the go-slow is resolved soon because our pay will be affected

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