By Ntsako Shivambu
Small Business owners in Komatipoort are happy as the South African government reopened the 20 land borders. Cabinet on Saturday February 13, 2021 took a decision to reopen the land borders.
Land borders have been closed since January 11, 2021 due to escalating cases of Covid-19, and the Beitbridge border was considered as one of the super spreaders with hundreds of cases reported from there, according to Limpopo health department.
Multitudes of people were at the border as they tried to cross into South Africa from Zimbabwe after the festive season holidays with the Lebombo border post also experiencing the same problems. Trucks crossing into Zimbabwe and Mozambique also experienced long queues.
John Nkuna, a vendor who plied his trade in the BP filling station next to the Lebombo Garcia border post, told SA Positive News that he is delighted that the border has reopened.
“I will be able to make ends meet, it has been difficult to survive since the closure of the border. I survive on selling sim cards, airtime and sandwiches”, he said.
“The government should realize the importance of cross border traders like us who solely depend on travellers between Mozambique and South Africa.”
Jozita Gove who exchanged currency for travellers into Mozambique from Rand into Metical says that she makes 5% from every exchange and her business model relies on the functioning of the border.
“I travel between Mozambique and South Africa depending on the busyness of the border”, she said.
There is a hive of activities in the border as Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoeledi began his tour to monitor the opening of the border. There is a large movement of people travelling into Mozambique and those entering South Africa.
The minister said that the government has deployed more staff to deal with covid-19 and trucks will only be allowed to line up in a distance of 700 meters and others redirected to rest stops.
“Any person who will present a fake covid-19 test will be banned for five years from entering the republic of South Africa”, he concluded .