Monday, 18 July 2022

LONG DELAYS AT BEITBRIDGE BORDER

THERE were long delays in clearance of commercial cargo at the Beitbridge Border Post yesterday, as South African Revenue Services (SARS) customs officials continued their strike pressing for a 12 percent pay rise.

The employer is offering 1,69 percent, and that gap has resulted in a crippling stalemate. SARS offices and border posts are now manned by managers who don’t fall under the collective bargaining category.

The strike has led to slow movement of commercial cargo entering or leaving South Africa.

The long queues of trucks are also affecting road works in Beitbridge.

At its peak, the Beitbridge Border Post clears between 900 and 1 200 trucks a day. But now long and slow-moving queues of commercial trucks have become common on the main highways leading to Bulawayo and Harare in Zimbabwe and Musina in South Africa.

Beitbridge Border Post links South Africa not just to Zimbabwe but also to all points north, including other Sadc countries Malawi, Zambia, DRC, Tanzania, and Angola.

In a statement last week, SARS said it had come up with contingency plans to ensure continued services to its client pending a resolution of the salaries dispute.

“SARS apologises for any inconvenience caused due to the industrial action taking place across SARS, we are experiencing delays in servicing our taxpayers.

“While some branches may be closed to the public, they will continue to honour virtual appointments, as booked. In the event that a virtual booking is not honoured, please note that the branch will follow up to do the necessary service recovery. Please continue to also make use of our digital services during this time.”

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi last Thursday said he was hopeful SARS and its employees would find common ground in the interest of facilitating trade.

The minister visited Beitbridge to unveil the first batch of 200 border guards, who have been deployed to strengthen operations at the ports with Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

These fall under the newly constituted Border Management Authority, which is operating under the Home Affairs Ministry pending its independence in April next year. Herald

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