A ZAMBIA-BOUND haulage truck’s horse was reduced to ashes at a truck stop in Victoria Falls’ on Saturday night as the driver sought Zimbabwe Revenue Authority clearance at the border post.
The incident happened on Saturday night around 8:30pm near Mosi Oa-Tunya High School turn-off along the Bulawayo-Victoria Highway.
The 30-tonne truck belonging to Shaan Carriers and General Dealers was waiting for clearance from the Zimbabwean side enroute to Lusaka.
A witness, who is a truck driver, Lewis Chilambwa said: “ We still don’t know what happened and we are still shocked as to why the fire didn’t burn other trucks nor the load, as you can see that everything is still wrapped neatly in the trailer. When the truck caught fire, there was no one in the car. The driver had gone to Hwange to get some clearance papers,” he said.
“Everything was burnt to ashes from documents, food, clothing and blankets, among other necessities.”
The truck driver was said to have gone to the police to submit a statement when Southern Eye visited the scene.
Another truck driver complained about delays at the truck stop, saying he had spent over a week waiting to be cleared.
“We pay $15 for coming in here, but you realise that when all your immigration papers have been cleared, the truck stop guys delay us. I have been here for close to a week and they keep telling us to wait, our clearance is not yet ready and it is for that reason why some truck drivers now prefer to park along the road on the highway. Imagine this guy’s truck caught fire while waiting for his clearance, as he had been here for the past four days,” he said.
“In Zambia, they value the truck drivers’ safety and we get cleared a few hours after parking. It is for that reason you find many drivers getting infected with HIV because naturally they end up feeling lonely, imagine a week in a foreign land sleeping in a truck.
Another driver added that they were pleased with the one stop border post is under construction in Botswana, Kazungula, saying there would be no need for them to use the Zimbabwean border enroute to other southern African countries.
A huge number of trucks park along Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway, a habit residents have called on council to curtail, citing road damage, accidents, prostitution and health threats due some hazardous substances some of them ferry.
In October another Zambian 30-tonne truck spilled large amounts of cooking oil along the same road, following an accident the driver said was due to fatigue.