Industry mull measures to decongest Lebombo border post

Industry mull measures to decongest Lebombo border post.png

The removal of trucks at South Africa’s bottlenecked border into Mozambique could assist in decongesting the N4 highway by acting as a deterrent to poor driver behaviour.

However, the notion of impounding ore-carrying tipper trucks faces a significant obstacle – the availability of space.

This emerged from a meeting attended by prominent stakeholders last Thursday in Komatipoort.

Held in the boardroom of the SA Revenue Service – but not attended by any representative from the tax authority – the meeting was called for by “taxi marshals” who have intervened to help with night-time traffic control of the queue.

A document leaked to Freight News confirms that the taxi associations who have filled in for traffic officers unwilling to work after hours have made it clear that they would like to withdraw from the ore truck congestion on the “Maputo Corridor”.

In addition, local police station commissioner, Col Louis Stander, including several of the other attendees representing organisations such as the Komatipoort Business Chamber, “expressed the need that, except for arrests, it would be useful to impound (the) tipper trucks of those who transgress.”

It was stressed, though, that “a challenge to that end is suitable available land.”

The document also corroborates what was revealed by an anonymous source yesterday, that Mpumalanga’s Department of Roads and Transport doesn’t have the budget or the manpower to increase involvement at the border, where truck drivers regularly queue for days on end before proceeding to the Port of Maputo.

This lack of capacity was underscored by John Nkuna, the province’s Chief Director of Transport Regulation, who was present at the meeting.

Private-sector stakeholders, however, emphasised that demanding circumstances necessitate swift adjustments.

Nkuna, in his role overseeing traffic control in the province, was informed that an immediate requirement is to have more officials on the road, working longer hours to manage the queue at the Lebombo border.

Participants reiterated that nothing short of the following measures is needed: arranging trucks waiting to reach the border in a single-file queue, preventing trucks from skipping the line, maintaining law enforcement by apprehending offenders where necessary, and disallowing truck drivers from attempting to bypass the queue by using any road other than the N4.

Yesterday, Freight News was told that Nkuna apparently left the meeting with a commitment that his department would respond to the demands outlined in the meeting.

“We need a plan from him,” the source stated.

“Why must we plead with government officials to help us maintain law and order? It’s their job. We should also not have to applaud when they do what they’re expected to do, but it shows how desperate we are.”

Nkuna gave no indication when his department would respond to Komatipoort’s appeal that something drastic and decisive be done about the ore truck chaos on the N4.

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