Transporters using the Beitbridge Border Post between South Africa and Zimbabwe are advised to proceed with extreme caution because of the unrest situation unfolding in Musina south of the border.
Earlier this morning the Transit Assistance Bureau (Transist) reported that the Road Traffic Management System (RTMS) had warned hauliers to rather use the bypass road around the town because of violence on the N1.
Unrest started earlier this week after residents, disgruntled by inadequate water supply from the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM), took to the streets burning tyres and disrupting traffic in protest at poor service delivery.
Community leader Binky Sefake told the Limpopo Mirror that they hadn’t had water for days.
Sewani Kaunda, a resident of Nancefield, where most of the protesters are from, said: “Musina is going to be on fire because of a man-made water crisis by the municipality. They're just closing our water provision willy-nilly while we are paying for water.”
VDM spokesperson Matodzi Ralushai said: “Vhembe District technicians are currently in Musina busy fixing the leakages, and water tankers will also be supplying water in the afternoon to the affected areas. Fixing of leakages is expected to be completed this afternoon [Wednesday], hence pumping will immediately start to fill up main reservoirs. Supplying of water to residents is also expected to start early tomorrow morning. We apologise for the inconvenience.”
Commenting on the protests, Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly said the protest was not an attack on trucks, but the logistics sector was always impacted.
Sources in the logistics sector said the N1 was closed but the routes in and out of Musina were not affected and the road to the border remained open.
* Latest update: At 12:45 this afternoon Transist reported that the RTMS had confirmed that the bypass road had been closed. Although the N1 up to the China Mall was "fine", unrest at the mall itself was said to be chaotic. "A lot of people are stuck between China Mall and Baobab Petroleum," Kage Barnett of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations said. The RTMS advised that all transporters with trucks in Musina send their drivers to truck parks for safety. An RTMS official said: "The situation is not good."