By BRIAN HATYOKA –
MORE than 100 trucks from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are marooned at Kazungula Border on the Zambian side because authorities on the Botswana side are not allowing them to enter that country.
The move has reportedly been prompted by reports of an outbreak of the Ebola in the DRC.
The DRC’s health minister, Felix Kabange Numbi on Sunday confirmed that the samples from two of eight people in the vast Central African country tested positive for the virus.
A check at the border by the Times yesterday around 16:00 hours found scores of trucks, en-route to South Africa, marooned while others were turning back to use the Victoria Falls border into Zimbabwe.
The trucks, which are mainly carrying copper from DRC, have not been allowed to cross into Botswana since Monday this week when news broke that DRC had confirmed reports on cases of the Ebola virus.
A truck driver working for Global Marketers of South Africa, Anthony Abel, said drivers coming from DRC were not being allowed to pass through Botswana regardless of their nationality.
Mr Abel, a South African, who spoke on behalf of scores of stranded drivers, said more than 80 trucks were marooned because Botswana authorities were concerned with the reported cases of Ebola in DRC.
“All truck drivers coming from Zambia are allowed to pass through
Botswana but those of us coming from DRC are not allowed to cross.
“We don’t know how long this will take. I loaded copper from Congo on my way to South Africa. The problem is not on the Zambian side but on the Botswana side,” he said.
Mr Abel said the authorities in Botswana told him to contact the South African embassy in Zambia on the way forward.
“We are comfortable here in Zambia but the more we gather here the more problems we will create such as congestion because several other trucks such as Akuna Matata are still coming from DRC,” Mr Abel said.
Kazungula District Commissioner Pascalina Musokotwane said she was aware of the situation but could not comment further because the problem was on the Botswana side.
“I can’t comment much since the trucks are allowed on the Zambian side and not allowed on the other Botswana side,” she said.