By Bodwa Mbingo | 2020-08-01
While the country’s economic players welcomed with extreme joy the reopening of the Ngwenya Border Gate yesterday following its closure the previous day due a recorded case of COVID-19 on the South African side, the news of the sudden closure of the Matsamo Border due to a fresh case was met with equal grief.
The country’s import and export activity was greatly disturbed yesterday following the closure of the Ngwenya Border as a congestion of trucks destined for inside and outside the country was witnessed before this border opened yesterday.
The border’s reopening was confirmed by Nhlanhla Nxumalo, Principal Secretary (PS) in the ministry of home affairs yesterday.
The PS also announced the closure of Matsamo Border Gate due to a confirmed COVID-19 case at the Jeppes Reef Border gate side once again.
“The ministry of home affairs wishes to notify importers and exporters of goods rendered essential that Matsamo Border has been closed indefinitely due to a confirmed COVID-19 case on the South African side (Jeppes Reef Border gate).
“The gate will open after completion of the necessary fumigation and deep clean process to minimise the chances of more infections.
“The nation is advised to use alternative borders which are Ngwenya, Mahamba, and Mananga when going to South Africa until the nation is informed that Matsamo Border has been reopened.
“Conversely, Ngwenya border post has been reopened and in full operation after closure since yesterday due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Any inconvenience caused by these sudden changes is regretted,” read a statement from the ministry yesterday.
It should be noted that importers and exporters of essential goods had been advised to use Matsamo and Mahamba as alternative points of entry and exit while the Ngwenya Border was closed.
A visit by the Saturday Observer team at Ngwenya before its reopening found frustrated importers and exporters waiting for its reopening.
They waited anxiously until the border was cleared for movement following its fumigation.
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