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One-stop border post to ease congestion at Beitbridge

by Staff reporter
03 Dec 2020 at 06:36hrs | Views
CONGESTION and long delays have become perennial at Beitbridge due to its high economic activity as the nucleus of regional and international trade, and this requires South Africa and Zimbabwe to upgrade operations at the port of entry.

South Africa's Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said last week that the full implementation of the One-Stop Border Post (OSPB) concept will go a long way in addressing operational challenges at Beitbridge.

ZimBorders is carrying out the project that will modernise Beitbridge into a commercial hub at a cost of $241 million. Under the OSPB initiative, travellers and cargo is cleared once for passage into either country with immigration, security and customs systems being harmonised.

Presently the clearance of cargo and travellers is duplicated at both countries' components of the border.

According to Dr Motsoaledi, there is a need for the upgrading of infrastructure to suit the new order. He made the remarks after meeting his Zimbabwean counterpart Minister Kazembe Kazembe while touring the border ahead of the festive season.

"What is being planned here is a one-stop border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa to address congestion-related issues," said Minister Motsoaledi.

"As we speak Zimbabwe is far ahead in terms of infrastructure development. They have already started construction to extend offices, renewing them and putting up new terminals.

"We are going to be starting construction works on our side soon. If you look at the model of one-stop border post . . ."

The minister said the OSPB was a culmination of co-operation between Zimbabwe and South Africa. He said the two countries will implement a juxtaposed model, where the infrastructure will be completely changed to fit into the new thrust.

Minister Motsoaledi said those going to Zimbabwe and those entering the neighbouring country will be cleared once rather than having too many checks, as is the situation now.

"Under the new model, we will have separate lanes for buses, commercial trucks, light motor vehicles and pedestrians.

"Those plans have been completed. Our officials have been meeting and if you look at the South African side, we have met with Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique and Eswatini to lay the foundation for a similar setup," said Dr Motsoaledi.

The minister said border authorities from the two countries were already hard at work to operationalise the concept, adding that he will have another meeting with Minister Kazembe to up the tempo on the project.

The upgrading of the Beitbridge Border Post will also provide an efficient route to ports such as Durban in South Africa for goods destined for regional and international markets.

Some of the works under the modernisation programme include the construction of more commercial customs offices, paving, and expansion of sewer and water reticulation facilities, separation of traffic into buses, light vehicles, tourists, and commercial vehicles.

In addition, a commercial bridge to link with South Africa will be constructed and part of the project will result in the upgrading of Beitbridge Municipality's key infrastructure among others.

As part of accelerating the One-Stop Border post, in 2017 South Africa launched a logistics hub in Musina to ease the cost of doing business and promote regional and international trade among Sadc.

The hub is a brainchild of Zimbabweans in the diaspora and is a culmination of a partnership between, Lion Share, Burbey Group, Barloworld, Mac and Transnet.

Source - chroncile