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'We will never close Beitbridge border post'

by Daniel Itai in Pretoria South Africa
16 Mar 2020 at 15:28hrs | Views
Following the 62 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Africa, the country's President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday declared a national state of disaster on the southern African country.

"We have now declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act. This will enable us to have an integrated and coordinated disaster management mechanism that will focus on preventing and reducing the outbreak of this virus.

We will also be able to set up emergency, rapid and effective response systems to mitigate the severity of its impact.

It is true that we are facing a grave emergency, but if we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it," said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa further initiated a travel ban on China, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom  and United States of America.

Today South Africa's Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi, further elaborated on the travel ban which will take effect from Wednesday the 18th of March 2020 and result in the closure of 35 border posts and two sea ports, Mosselbay and Saldanha.
"We have decided to close 35 boarder posts with Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, eSwatini, and Botswana. As for the Beitbridge border post, that one we will never close," said Motsoaledi.

On the other hand, Dr. Tapiwa Mashakada who is an economist and MDC-A's head of Policy and Research said if the Beitbridge border post were to close both South Africa and Zimbabwe will feel the ramifications.

"Covid-19 is now a pandemic and all countries are taking precautionary measures. Free movement of people and goods may be affected as neighbouring countries take these precautionary measures.

I think the issue of keeping Beitbridge open is a measured response while the epidemic is being monitored. Closure of borders affect all countries not just Zimbabwe because of trade relations," said Dr. Mashakada.

South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner and Zimbabwe is amongst South Africa's top trading partners, on a continental and international level.

Below is the list of border posts that have been temporarily closed by South Africa:
Namibian borders:

Alexanderbay

Onseepkans

Rietfontein

Sendelingsdrfit

Botswana borders:

Bray

Derdepoort

Gemsbok

McCarthys Rest

Middelputs

Mokopong

Mokgobistad

Platjan

Pondrift

Stockpoort

Swartkopfontein

Tweerivieren

Zanzibar

Mozambique borders:

Pafuri

Giriyondo

Kosibay

eSwatini borders:

Bothashoop

Emahlatini

Josefsdal

Nerston

Onverwacht

Waverley

Lesotho borders:

Boesmansnek

Makhaleng Bridge

Mononstha Pass

Ongeluksnek

Pekabridge

Ramatsiliso

Sanipass

Sephaphus Gate

Tellebridge

Source - Daniel Itai in Pretoria South Africa

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