THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has revealed that truck drivers transporting maize from South Africa to Zimbabwe were picking up passengers and travelling with women, risking the spread of COVID-19.

BY Precious Chida

GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza said government had already raised its concern over the conduct of truck drivers contracted by the grain millers.

“The association notes with appreciation your continued support in provision of carriage of white maize from South Africa into our own GMAZ private silos in Bulawayo and Harare,” Chaunza said on Monday in a letter directed to trucking companies contracted by the millers.

“The conduct violates the exemption of compulsory quarantine on truck drivers granted by the government.”

He added: “The government has communicated its concerns to us with regards to the conduct of most of your truck drivers who tend to travel in pairs with the opposite gender outside the scope of their duties and also carry passengers for monetary benefit.”

Zimbabwe has been recording a spike in COVID-19 cases since the end of last month, the majority coming from returnees from South Africa and Botswana.

Truck drivers have also been singled as the biggest transporter of the virus in the region.

In the absence of inter-city buses due to the COVID-19 measures, travellers have been using trucks, which have been classified as essential services, as a form of transport.

Chaunza said although the country was in need of the maize imports, it could not overlook the risky conduct of the truck drivers.

“It militates against the national effort in combating the spread of COVID-19 pandemic,” Chaunza added.
“You are, therefore, strongly directed to ensure that your drivers do not carry any other persons in their vehicles and must travel alone.

“Those drivers found in the company of other persons in their vehicles will be subjected to compulsory 21 days of quarantine and liable to prosecution.”

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