One of South Africa’s quieter crossings into a neighbouring country, the Golela Border Post north-east of Pongola into Eswatini, remained closed this morning following a coronavirus scare.
According to early reports yesterday afternoon, the border shutdown was the result of labour action.
But the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta) confirmed that it had been because of Covid-19 and the need to decontaminate facilities at the border.
Matters were made worse when the border’s water supply ran dry.
“It’s not certain what’s causing the water issue at the moment,” Fesarta chief executive Mike Fitzmaurice said, especially seeing as the border is so close to the Jozini Dam.”
Transporters laden with cargo like maize and headed north from areas like Richards Bay towards south-east Eswatini immediately reacted to the news, pointing out that time and distance delays related to using alternate crossing such as Mahamba added too much cost to their journey.
One transporter said he had several trucks going towards Golela, with one already at the border and being diverted to Piet Retief almost 150 kilometres west on the N2.
Once there, trucks have to head back east towards Mahamba, a detour of at least 200 kilometres.
Before posting this report, Fesarta confirmed that nothing was forthcoming from the border, and the water supply had not been restored, complicating decontamination requirements.
- Just after noon today Freight News heard that the Golela border was ready to be re-opened.