Crisis at Lebombo port of entry
The community in the Underberg area has been and is currently experiencing a highly frustrated and disruptive situation along the N4 between Malelane and the Lebombo border post at Komatipoort. Trucks are piling from the border post, most of the time double rows, for more than 20 kilometers. Hundreds of trucks are involved daily. This is an extremely dangerous situation for all road users and disrupts normal economic activities of the region that relies heavily on smooth flow of traffic.
We were informed that the Border Control Management Agency, responsible for smooth management of activities at all ports of entry, are aware of the bottle neck. According to our information they are in discussion with representatives from the local community regarding possible solutions for the crisis.
However. The absence of traffic control, between 18h00 – 06h00, can be quickly remedied. Traffic control apparently is not classified as an essential service without any budget for overtime. When the traffic officers leave for the day, this is when the trucks drivers take the law into their own hands, block all entrances, double or triple park on the highway etc. Entrances to guesthouses, farms and packhouses are often blocked, which hinders our farmers transporting their produce. Criminals make use of the trucks as a barrier to trespass on private land and helped themselves with fresh produce in orchards.
This situation can rapidly develop into high levels of lawless actions like riots and violent protest actions. Mpumalanga Agriculture appreciated and supports all legitimate efforts from the local community to find solutions for this crisis at Lebombo port of entry. However, we call on all responsible government institutions to urgently put in place measures to solve this crisis before it turns into a disaster.
Robert Davel – Executive manager