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NGWENYA – Crossing to South Africa through Ngwenya Border Gate took longer than usual yesterday as the port of entry dealt with thousands of travellers.

The border gate started operating normally around lunch-time. Motorists parked at the border for more than three hours, waiting to cross over to the neighbouring country. The queues were mostly formed by people who visited the country this weekend to attend the annual MTN Bushfire Festival, which was held at House of Fire in Malkerns. The traffic jam was mainly of cars and trucks that were trying to navigate their way through the border gate. When this publication visited the 24-hour border gate, the queue extended to more than 1.5 kilometres. Moving across Ngwenya traffic circle was a struggle as motorists with the help of traffic officers had to negotiate their way through. This was because there were three lanes that had been created by motorists.


Due to the long queues, some travellers opted to continue where they left off at the Bushfire and started what looked like a street bash. They blasted music and enjoyed beverages. Some took out camp chairs and sat beside their cars. They said they wanted to ease the stress of the long queues. By 3:30pm, some travellers narrated that they had been in the queue at the border since 1.30pm. However, when one walked into the immigration offices where travellers were submitting their gate passes and further stamped their travel documents, it was noted that the service was fast. The only setback was the traffic queue. As a result, people would leave their cars, submit their gate passes and stamp their passports, then return to their vehicles to negotiate passage through the border gate.

Officials from both South Africa and Eswatini Home Affairs, as well as those from the Eswatini Revenue Service, had a busy day as they controlled the traffic in order to allow both trucks and motor vehicles to pass through without accidents. Officers who were interviewed at the border mentioned that the services were slow in the morning because the digital system was not as fast. They said the system was normal around lunch-time. Another officer said inasmuch as they could be faster, there were too many vehicles that congested the border gate, hence the long queues. Worth noting, the queues were on the departures side, while on the arrivals side operations were smooth. Home Affairs Communications Officer Mlandvo Dlamini said their systems were down in all border gates in the country. He said they had to resort to manual operations, while they were fixing the network errors. “Our digital systems were restored towards lunch-time. The delays were caused by the fact that our officers had to load information manually, which was time consuming,” he said. Dlamini stated that other border gates were able to quickly recover but since Ngwenya was the busiest, it had to grapple with the long queues.