4 July 2011
Mbabane: The Swaziland Revenue Authority anticipates developing infrastructure where trucks will park at the Ngwenya border post so as to ease traffic when declaring goods. SRA Commissioner General Dumsani Masilela said such a development would be a long term strategy as truck drivers had to park on the South African side to declare on the Swazi side, which the neighbouring country said was illegal. Last Thursday business came to a standstill when the South African side of the Oshoek/Ngwenya border post suddenly changed the declaration procedure without informing their local counterparts.
Amongst those affected were trucks that had consignments to shops such as Spar, hospitals’ water for drips, cement as well as DHL parcels. Such had a negative impact on the country’s economy as a number of businesses were stalled after goods were not delivered on time.
Over 100 truck drivers protested at the Swazi side of the border demanding that they be allowed to pass through since they had been waiting since Monday. The bone of contention was that South Africa refused to allow the truck drivers to make their declarations in Swaziland whilst their trucks were parked on that side of the border.
One of the Commissioners, Khauelo Mawana said the arrangement before was that because Swaziland did not have enough parking space, drivers would declare in that country and leave their trucks there, come to Swaziland and complete the paper work before going back to get the trucks. He said such was something that the South African border did not want anymore. Mawana said some of the reasons that were given by the border authorities did not carry much substance, stating that they had also been told there were immigration issues involved.
Meanwhile, the SRA commissioner general said the truck drivers managed to process their documentation last Thursday as the border operated until 11 p.m. At the time Masilela was contacted, he said there were only 15 trucks left and the traffic had eased. He said South Africa was adamant that parking the trucks on their side while declaration on the Swazi side was being done was illegal.
“We managed to agree on having runner-ups for the short term, this will push traffic and deal with the congestion. We will develop a long term solution to this by building infrastructure where the trucks will park,” he said.
Credit: The Swazi Observer