Saturday, 09 January 2021 13:29

Staff Reporter.

South Africa and Mozambique have agreed on measures to ease long queues at the Lebombo border post between the two countries after a week of congestion.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and his Mozambican counterpart met on Friday afternoon and agreed on measures to smooth operations at the border crossing.

The meeting came after Mozambique reportedly announced that it would retaliate against the refusal of South African authorities to accept Covid-19 rapid tests carried out in that country, by not allowing anybody to cross into the country with a South African Covid-19 rapid test.

Motsoaledi’s spokesperson, Siya Qoza, said the ministers agreed on a number of measures to ease congestion. These measures will exempt truck drivers and co-drivers from taking a Covid-19 antigen test, but "employers will be responsible for testing drivers each month". he said.

The ministers of health of both countries were also consulted before reaching this decision.

This exemption, however, does not apply to passengers in trucks. "Trucks drivers who are carrying passengers will be tested together with their passengers. "This agreement was set to be effective immediately, Qoza said.

It is similar to an agreement reached between Zimbabwe and South Africa after similar delays at the Beitbridge border post.

Earlier this week, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi warned South Africa is facing a humanitarian crisis at its border posts.

This led to the Home Affairs Department implementing a revised operational plan for returning travellers, which entailed deploying more soldiers along with home affairs and healthcare officials to the country’s busiest ports of entry.