Friday, 25 December 2020 13:39

Staff Reporter.

File: The Beitbridge border post between South African and Zimbabwe. Picture: @HomeAffairsSA/Twitter.

The Health Department has suspended screening at the Beitbridge border post to allow traffic to flow.

It comes after the deaths of at least 15 people waiting to cross into Zimbabwe.

The department says it has to ensure the safety of all South Africans.

Travellers are sleeping in their parked vehicles while waiting to cross the Beitbridge border post in Limpopo, where queues of trucks, taxis and cars stretch for kilometres.

Following reports of numerous people stuck at the border post for several days because of a traffic backlog, Parliament’s portfolio committee on Home Affairs has been prompted to intervene.

The chairperson of the committee, advocate Bongani Bongo,called for urgent intervention at the border post where there was a queue of trucks and travellers spanning a few kilometres at the Beitbridge border post between Limpopo and Zimbabwe.

The bumper-to-bumper traffic at Beitbridge, according to Bongo, is the result of "stringent" health checks put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

He emphasised that it is necessary at this juncture for the Department of Home Affairs, together with sister departments operating at ports of entry, to develop and implement emergency strategies that will alleviate the congestion at that border crossing.

Bongo said the congestion has also highlighted the urgent need to operationalise the Border Management Agency, which will improve the agility in dealing with such situations in the future.