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Border traffic clears as South Africa fixes system

by Staff reporter
27 Jun 2023 at 01:37hrs | Views
Transporters of commercial cargo who have been experiencing long delays at the Beitbridge Border Post following a technical glitch on the South African side, were eventually cleared yesterday after the South African Revenue Services (SARS) fixed the technical challenge on their online customs system.

For the past two years, slow moving queues of freight trucks had become common on the Zimbabwean side of the border, spending more than the usual three hours to clear for passage into either Zimbabwe or South Africa.

But following the upgrade of the Beitbridge Border Post following a US$300 million deal between the Government and Zimborders Consortium, Zimbabwe no longer causes any delays to transporters of commercial cargo.

SARS spokesperson, Mr Siphithi Sibeko, yesterday said they were working on ensuring a flawless passage for traffic.

"You will note that we don't have a major challenge besides the fact that our online system is a little slower.

"However, we are working on it and things will get better in the shortest possible time," he said.

Since the transformation of Beitbridge Border Post the Zimbabwean side has been clearing an average of 900 trucks daily.

At least 55 percent of the freight was being cleared less than three hours before the latest challenges.

Zimborders Consortium general manager, Mr Nqobile Ncube, said they were aiming at clearing at least 80 percent of freight arriving at the border within three hours by the second quarter of next year.

The delays come a few months following a similar scenario when SARS officials staged a strike demanding a pay rise of 12 percent and their employer has offered to review the salaries by 1, 7 percent, a move that has resulted in a stalemate.

Matters were later resolved following a series of negotiations between the employees and the revenue collector.

SARS uses a Single Administrative Document (SAD) to facilitate the customs clearance of goods for importers, exporters, and cross-border traders.

The SAD is a multi-purpose goods declaration form covering imports, exports, cross-border, and transit movements.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe uses the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), which is a computerised customs management system that covers most foreign trade procedures.

It handles manifests and customs declarations, along with accounting, transit and suspense procedures.

The consortium is managing the facility as part of its 17 and half year's Build Operate Transfer (BOT) concession with the government.

Source - The Herald