Maputo Corridor queue: taxi marshals fire at ore truck0 (0)

Maputo Corridor queue: taxi marshals fire at ore truck
0 (0)

August 14, 2023

Shots were fired at an ore truck on the N4 near South Africa’s Lebombo border post with Mozambique over the weekend, presumably by taxi marshals trying to curb bad driver behaviour believed to be exacerbating congestion problems at the inadequate crossing.

A cellphone video recording sent to Freight News shows a truck swerving across the road while shots are being fired from a pickup tailing the truck.

A source from Komatipoort said the truck was definitely on the N4, although it seems unclear where as no queueing trucks can be seen on the video.

“What is clear,” said the source, “is that the marshals are fed up with what the drivers are doing. They’re creating havoc by trying to skip the queue and do as they please.”

The source said he had it on good authority that many transporters were instructing their drivers to do whatever they could to avoid standing in the “Maputo Corridor” queue, a snails-pace line of trucks that often takes several days to pass into Mozambique, regularly devolving into a tangled mess at night when traffic officials stop working.

“It’s turning into a war zone,” the source said.

Several shots were fired at the truck, which was eventually stopped, after which its driver was apparently pulled from the cabin and badly beaten.

In another incident, a truck that had stopped at the Sasol Garage close to the border, where the driver apparently wanted to rest, was shot at more than 20 times, had its tires punctured and valves broken.

An eyewitness said the drivers had had enough of the intimidation by the taxi marshals, and were not going to take matters lying down.

The source said it was simply not acceptable what was happening in the queue, especially at night when there were no police, except those close to the border, and traffic officials completely withdrew from the N4.

He said at Schoonspruit Farm about 15 kilometres from the border gate, trucks were queuing right across the highway.

“I had to drive on the gravel shoulder of the road because there was no space for me on the road.”

And while gunfire on the N4 queue is now escalating, nothing has been heard from Mpumalanga’s traffic chief, John Nkuna, following a recent meeting with concerned stakeholders from Komatipoort.

The source said: “Apparently a meeting at the border is being planned but in aid of what I don’t know. They should really be meeting with community representatives in Komatipoort. We live here. The trucks are merely passing through, but they’ve created a war zone on the N4.”

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