Swaziland
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2-DAY TRUCK PILE-UP AT NGWENYA-OSHOEK

NGWANYA – For 48 hours truck drivers could not leave or enter Eswatini due to a truck traffic jam.

Over 200 trucks are said to have piled up on both the sides of the Ngwenya Border Gate between Eswatini and South Africa (SA). This is said to have been caused by the slow clearance process on the SA side, according to some of the drivers who spoke on condition of anonymity. They said the pile-up had been due to an upgrade of the system. As a result of this, truck drivers said they were advised to wait while the system was being upgraded.
Some of the drivers said their trucks were loaded with various commodities while others were not loaded.

The trucks were parked around Ngwenya, but some had to be left next to the highway as there was no more space to park the trucks. This resulted in traffic congestion as some of the motorists were also affected as they had to drive slower than normal. Sipho Mabila, who is one of the truck drivers, who spoke on record, said as truck drivers they were worried about the situation. He said they were concerned because the company property was prone to being stolen. He said some of the drivers complained about their diesel being siphoned from their trucks.

Siphoned

Mabila said the thugs allegedly siphoned the trucks while they were sleeping and that some drivers only noticed after the alleged theft had occurred. One of the drivers is said to have discovered after he checked the tank. He said he had decided to check after receiving complaints that the fuel had been stolen from the tanks. Another driver, who asked not to speak on record, said he had been robbed at gunpoint. He said he was shocked to notice an armed person stealing a battery and that he was ordered to keep quiet. In one of the trucks, the alleged thugs are said to have stolen sugar which they left with.

When the driver was asked why the others had not helped, they said this was because many of them were asleep at the time. He said the thugs were aware that when the drivers were asleep, they knew that their target driver was vulnerable. “If you try to call for help, they can shoot you,” said the driver. He said if the situation continues, the thieves would also continue to rob them. He said it appeared the thieves were entering the country from the South African side.  “We do not experience such problems in Eswatini, but it is happening now because we are near the border,” said the truck driver.

Officials on the Eswatini side of the border also said the congestion was as a result of the clearance system on the SA side.  Noteworthy, the influx of trucks carrying coal from mining towns in Mpumalanga, SA destined for markets via the Mozambican ports of Matola and Maputo, were on the increase. These trucks pass through the border, 24 hours daily.