Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations

SADC Border Chaos

Following on the introduction of SI 113 of 2017, Amendment of the Customs and Excise (General) Regulations, SI 154 of 2001, Section 60 ,by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, there is total chaos at the borders with that country. The amendment requires that all vehicles are to be fitted with Customs seals, by the authorities. The seals are to be paid for by transporters in US dollars, and unsealed vehicle must be escorted in convoys, as and when organised by the Commissioner; this sometimes causes delays of up to 5 days.

Similar queues and obstructions are being experienced at all borders. The amendment is already causing considerable obstruction with vehicles being delayed for up to 24 hours waiting for seals; removal of existing seals (which are required by consignors to verify load integrity); refusal to endorse documents, when seals are tampered with or removed; even damage to vehicles (drilling holes to fit seals) and further harassment regarding routes and police road blocks.

The Federation has initially addressed this matter by registering a NTB (NTB-000-782) as well engaging with SADC in terms of the Protocol on Transport. Urgent meetings have been arranged in Harare with FESARTA representatives attending to voice their condemnation and to insist on review of the entire process.

The chaotic conditions are endemic to the SADC corridors with 50 vehicle queues at Martins Drift, near disaster at Ressano Garcia from road closure, and constant delays at Beit Bridge. The border and corridor management in SADC indicate minimal intention by the Member States to adhere to the principles of the Protocol on Transport and almost total disregard for the effects of the inefficiency. The cost of a 30 ton load (or container), from Durban to DRC is approximately $10,200 made up of 25-30% taxes and charges ; 25-30% by delay costs and approximately 50% for the actual cost of transporting the load.

FESARTA will be seeking opportunity to engage with the international donor agencies which are spearheading the funding of several current and proposed developments as there are indications that these are likely to increase the bureaucratic obstructions and continue to incur costs without addressing the root causes of the inefficiencies. It is essential to change the apparent official perspective in many countries that border are the simplest point at which to extract maximum revenue from transport and trade, and the issue of cost-efficiency of goods movements is a secondary consideration.

SADC Border Chaos – First Fatality

 Thursday, 21st September 2017

The situation at Machipanda Border Post between Zimbabwe and Mozambique has got out of hand with trucks queuing for over 10 km on the Mozambique side of the border.


The amendment requires that all vehicles are to be fitted with Customs seals, by the authorities and amendment is already causing considerable obstruction with vehicles being delayed for up to 72 hours waiting for seals.


Yesterday was a sad day for the Transport Industry when the queue at Machipanda claimed its first fatality, a child was driven over in the queue. The child was playing under a Tanker when it moved forward in the queue, a terrible situation leaving the driver of the truck traumatized.

 The tragedy is regrettable, but probably unavoidable under the circumstances. It will hopefully bring home to the Zimbabwean Authorities the dangers of staging large numbers of vehicles in uncontrolled areas with no security or facilities for extended periods of time. The drivers and others stuck in the queue for several days must cook, eat, and pollute, all of which contributes extreme danger to the chaotic situation, with over 100 vehicles full of fuel, as well as fertiliser and more perishable cargoes.

“Guptas now everywhere in Africa”

This truck spotted by Mike Fitzmaurice the CEO of FESARTA while at Taveta Border Post between Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa.


Mike Fitzmaurice - CEO.               

Email: mike@fesarta.com

Border Posts, Transport Corridors and Cross-border Transportation

Contact Numbers: Kenya +254 (0) 72 469 8681

                             Uganda +256 (0) 77 521 1473 

                           Tanzania +255 (0) 76 740 8990


Leon Swanepoel - Training Consulutant

E-learning Training Courses and NTBs (Non Tariff Barriers) Reporting

Contact Number: +27 (0) 83 747 6319    

Email: leon@fesarta.com


Nick Porée - Transport Economist

Vehicle regulations and Harmonized Vehicle Standards (Tri-partite)

Contact Numbers: +27 (0) 31 572 3258

                                 +27 (0) 79 980 4740

Email: nick@fesarta.com

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