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 08 Apr 2020

WINDHOEK, 08 APR (NAMPA) - There are not enough qualified drivers for trucks that are supposed to deliver essential goods to Namibia as some drivers have been quarantined and others are afraid to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was said by Executive Director at the Trans-Kalahari Corridor Secretariat, Leslie Mpofu, at the COVID-19 Information Centre in Windhoek on Wednesday during a panel discussion on the challenges the transport sector faces during the lockdown enforced to fight the outbreak.
He said the situation creates a void as trucks are without drivers for days, which leads to a delay in goods coming into the country.

"The few drivers that are available end up spending more time on the roads which lead to exhaustion and delays in delivering the goods", said Mpofu.
The Trans-Kalahari Corridor Secretariat is responsible for administering the highway corridor that provides direct routes from Walvis Bay to Windhoek and through Botswana to Pretoria, South Africa.

Walvis Bay Corridor Group Chief Executive Officer Hippy Tjivikua, who was also part of the panel, said the corridor operates through the Ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz and has been experiencing a lot of delays since the start of the lockdown in Namibia and South Africa.
Some of the delays, he said, were caused by misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the lockdown regulations.

"Some of the delays were caused by screening and testing of personnel at entry points, but we have now engaged stakeholders from all countries to ensure smooth coordination and we are expecting improvements in the coming weeks", said Tjivikua.

Deputy Executive Director in the Ministry of Works and Transport Jonas Sheelongo who also spoke at the same occasion, said transport plays a crucial role in moving goods from place to place, thus the Namibian Government has engaged Botswana and South Africa?s governments to give trucks transporting essentials goods first priority at the border points in order to avoid delays.