Border not affected by Maputo strife

Friday, September 3, 2010
By: 
Eric Mashaba

Komatipoort - Unrest in the capital of Mozambique has not affected the Lebombo border post near Komatipoort in Mpumalanga, which is the main port of entry between the country and South Africa.

Henson Msongweni, head of the South African Border Control Operation Coordinating Committee, said the Lebombo border post was operating normally.

"The traffic flow in both directions is less than we normally see, but we have not experienced any problems so far. The border was also not closed on Wednesday when the riots in Maputo started, and since early on Thursday people have been coming and going through the border as usual," he said.

Msongweni said the riots seemed to have taken place about 80km from the border, "which leaves us with little to worry about".

Anita Heyl, spokeswoman for N4 toll road operator Trans African Concessions (TRAC), said travellers should check on the situation in Mozambique before making use of the N4 route between Matola and Maputo.

"Riots and protest actions have been reported on that stretch of road, but TRAC's operations in Maputo have not been directly affected. We have opened lanes at the Maputo Plaza to allow for quick and easy traffic flow through the plaza so that people do not have to stop for long during these exceptional circumstances," she said.

"Normal traffic flow at the plaza has, however, decreased substantially since the start of the unrest yesterday (Wednesday). The plaza will operate at full capacity as soon as the situation in Maputo has normalised."

Meanwhile, South African Airways spokesperson Fani Zulu said flights to and from Maputo have resumed after being cancelled yesterday.

"This morning we decided to resume with our daily flights, two planes to Maputo and two from the capital back to South Africa. If the riots continue, we will decide what to do next for the safety of our passengers," he said.

Mpumalanga police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi warned Mozambicans in South Africa that the police were on high alert at the border.

"We warn them not to undertake any toy-toying in sympathy with their countrymen because the police are ready for anything. We have deployed enough manpower to monitor and control the situation. If they want to riot in support of their comrades, they should cross the border and do it in their own country," he said.

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