INTERNATIONAL haulage truckers and Zimbabwe National Army officers clashed at the Beitbridge Border Post on Tuesday after the former blocked a section of the customs and excise yard over delays in clearance.
The soldiers deployed soon after the November uprising against then President Robert Mugabe to oversee the smooth flow of traffic confronted the truckers who stood their ground saying it was a matter between them and customs officials only.
Zimra spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro confirmed the incident, but said the dispute had been resolved.
“Things have normalised,” he said.
A source at the border post told Southern Eye that the truckers blocked the “Wafa Wafa” leading to vehicle scanners, resulting in a standstill in the haulage truck section.
“They parked their vehicles in such a way that traffic on that side would not move. They complained about delays in vehicle clearances which take up to three days,” the source said.
“The soldiers tried to force the drivers to remove the blockage, but truckers told them [soldiers] to ask customs officers to speed up their work.”
A customs supervisor is reported to have addressed the drivers later, saying that something was being done to accelerate clearance of vehicles.
Problems of slow clearance of goods have been a thorn at Beitbridge, even though Zimra commissioner Faith Mazani undertook to resolve the issue when she took over the department this year.
The under-equipped Beitbridge border is struggling to handle traffic from most of the landlocked countries in the Sadc region which import goods via South Africa’s ports.