Mozambican transporters on the Maputo-Durban route are using a “much more expensive” alternative route to reach their destination following attacks on vehicles in South Africa, Mozambican officials told Lusa on Wednesday.
“We are using Essuatíni [former Swaziland] as an alternative route to get to Durban, but it is not an efficient way, it is much more expensive,” said Francisco Mandlate, secretary-general of the Mozambique, South Africa and Associated Association, which brings together transporters, speaking to Lusa.
At least six Mozambican vehicles, including a bus and a truck were burnt by assailants on the R22 road, between Hluhluwe and Mbazwane, in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.
The stretch is about 90 kilometres from the border and is part of the link used by several carriers between Maputo and Durban.
According to the association, the alternative route is much more costly and “bureaucratic,” requiring Mozambican vehicles to travel 123 kilometres more to reach Durban.
The Ponta de Ouro route, “was much more efficient,” he said.
In addition, through Essuatíni, “people are forced to cross many borders”.
“There are more stamps on the pages of passports,” Francisco Mandlate said, alluding to the procedures for entry and exit between the three countries, including some fees applied at the border.
Mozambican carriers are also complaining of a lack of passengers since the attacks.
“The number of passengers has fallen. Our cars are leaving without passengers and our business is going bankrupt,” said Francisco Mandlate.
The Mozambique, South Africa and Associates Association also said that this was not the first time when foreigners, including Mozambicans, are prevented from working in South Africa.
They demanded therefore that the South African authorities apply measures to stop episodes that culminate in violence.
“That country has never definitively resolved this type of problem. It is a brother country and that in its history with Mozambique has always established the idea of mutual aid,” only that Mozambicans have been “victims” without ever making “retaliations”, concluded Francisco Mandlate.
The attacks in recent weeks came after local communities in KwaZulu-Natal complained of several thefts of vehicles allegedly smuggled into Mozambique, which have gone unpunished.
Due to its economic stability, South Africa, the land of the rand (South African currency), is one of the countries which receives the most immigrants from various African regions, but mainly from neighbouring states, including Mozambique.
South Africa, the largest economy in the region, hosts over two million Mozambicans working in mines, agricultural fields and informal trade, according to the latest figures provided by the authorities.