Map showing border posts between Botswana and South Africa, with No.7 being the Tolkweng and No.4 the Martins Drift posts.
The temporary closure of the Martin’s Drift border post due to recent floods in the Tswapong area has resulted in the congestion of cargo trucks at Tlokweng border post.
Approaching the border from the Botswana side, there is a queue of these trucks awaiting declaration. The situation is made worse by shortage of parking space for the trucks, which at times lead to some trucks blocking way for others, hence the delay.
In an interview, the principal customs officer, Ms Monkgogi Makwati said they started receiving a large number of trucks on transit on Saturday (22 March 2014).
She said most of the trucks were from Kazungula on their way to South Africa. Ms Makwati also said trucks from South Africa were a challenge as the customs office was faced with a lot of work as goods were cleared in large quantities from that side.
She noted that Tlokweng border had always been the busiest in the country, but the current situation had made it more busy than usual. She also said the delay at the border was due to the electronic clearance system used by South Africa compared to the manual one used by Botswana, thus when the system is down, services from that side halt.
Ms Makwati, however, noted that trucks carrying perishables and goods such as medicines, gas and petrol among others were given special clearance and they do not take long at the border.
The traffic jam has not only affected services at the border, but also facilities such as toilets have started to experience some blockage while others are running out of water due to high number of people who are frequenting them.
Some truck drivers expressed dissatisfaction on the South African service of clearing noting that they had been at the border for four days without bathing. Source: Daily News Botswana