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 09 Apr 2020

Trucks carrying essential goods have been experiencing delays since the lockdown. Photo: File


TRUCKS carrying essential goods, like food and medicine, from Namibia's ports have been experiencing delays since the lockdown.

Walvis Bay Corridor Group's chief executive officer, Hippy Tjivikua, said this yesterday in Windhoek during the daily briefing session on Covid-19.

The session was held at the Khomas Regional Council's office in Windhoek, where the Covid-19 information centre has been set up.

Other panellists who spoke on the issue of transporting essential goods during this critical time were Lesli Mpofu of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor secretariat and Jonas Sheelongo, executive director of works.

“We have to be honest. This has caught us off guard. We are in a situation where there are no textbooks on how to go about [tackling] Covid-19. There are delays. We have experienced tremendous delays. Other countries have also put in place measures to minimise transmission. There have also been issues at the border with the interpretation and application of regulations, which is now being ironed out,” said Tjivikua.

According to him, the freedom of the essential goods trade is improving gradually.

Sheelongo said the ministry has come up with ways to guide the transportation of essential goods and, as a result, have had to engage various stakeholders.

He said they had to learn from countries like South Africa, where Namibia gets most of its goods from, on how to go about transporting essential items.

Mpofu said at times the definition of what essential goods are causes delays, but this is being ironed out.

He said it is hard to find drivers who are qualified to lead trade in the current circumstances.

Being quarantined has a psychological effect on drivers and their families, Mpofu said.

Another reason for delays include officials at the border not knowing if certain goods are essential.

He said measures have been put in place to ensure drivers are not fatigued, as this could cause accidents.

SOURCE: The Namibian