National Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, must urgently devise a contingency plan to address the utter chaos at the Beitbridge border control facility where operations have grinded to a halt due to staffing shortages and the lockdown curfew.
It is reported that thousands have been left stranded for days on end, and two people have died from fatigue while waiting to cross the border to and from South Africa at the Beitbridge facility. This is absolutely unacceptable.
Government should have factored in the seasonal migration of Southern Africans across borders when formulating Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Failure to do so has not only caused dangerous levels of traffic congestion at the borders, but the potential for super spreader hotspots where thousands are now gathered at our country’s border facilities.
The DA has repeatedly reminded government that lockdown restrictions must be factored into the operation of each and every government department. The 22:00 curfew, for example, should not apply when citizens have been waiting at border facilities for hours and days on end.
We cannot have crowds of people stranded at entry points for days on end with no ablution or sanitising facilities in dangerously hot weather. This is an incredibly dangerous oversight by government which is tantamount to utter negligence.
Minister Motsoaledi should have anticipated and planned for the effect of the lockdown curfew on seasonal migration during this time. He must ensure that the free movement of people to and from South Africa is done so swiftly and efficiently over the coming weeks or risk the creation of super spreader Covid-19 hotspots.
The festive season is far from over. Minister Motsoaledi must ensure that in adhering to lockdown restrictions, his Department isn’t unknowingly placing South Africans at further risk in the process.