South Africa’s embattled Beitbridge border has become synonymous with Covid-19 superspreader events after authorities in Harare announced that only Zimbabweans with South African permits would be allowed to cross the Limpopo heading south.
Literally overnight the situation resulted in thousands of Zimbabwean emigres being refused to return ‘home’, causing what a member of the Transit Assistance Bureau (Transist) said was a “mass no-mask event”.
In video material sent to Transist, hundreds, maybe thousands of people can be seen north of customs at Beitbridge on the Zim side, trying to cross.
Most of the people in the video aren’t wearing masks, and social distancing under such densification conditions is impossible.
One Transist member said it was a hectic situation.
Another source emphasised that the directive that Zimbabweans living in South Africa would not be allowed back into South African without permits had definitely originated in Zimbabwe.
The informant said anxiety was rising over what was currently happening at the border.
“The vehicle queue is now stretching several kilometres north,” the source said.
The scene of waiting masses, with mothers with babies strapped to their backs in temperatures of 35 degrees and over, has already been labelled another “humanitarian crisis in the making”.
It comes mere days after South African health authorities were forced to discontinue stringent Covid-19 testing measures after related capacity constraints south of the border caused congestion that spiralled out of control, causing the death of one truck driver and at least three other people.
WATCH: People crowd at the customs gate north of the Beitbridge Border Post after Ziimbabwe announced that only people with permits could re-enter South Africa.