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Beitbridge border toll fees slashed by 300%

by Farai Kuvirimirwa
30 Jun 2014 at 05:32hrs | Views
THE government has slashed toll fees charged on all types of vehicles using the New Limpopo Bridge linking Zimbabwe and South Africa by about 30 percent, bringing relief to transporters.

According to new regulations contained in the current government gazette, motor cycles will now pay $3 while light motor vehicles and heavy vehicles will fork out $6 and $17 respectively.

Prior to the slashing of the toll fees, motorbikes, light vehicles and heavy vehicles' drivers were paying $4,70 (50 rand), $9,45 (100 rand) and $27,25 (300 rand), respectively.

The toll fees would be administered by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) after government assumed ownership and operation of the New Limpopo Bridge from New Limpopo Bridge (Pvt) Ltd, which constructed the bridge in 1994.

The government recently took over the New Limpopo Bridge, linking Zimbabwe and South Africa, located just after Beitbridge, which was constructed under the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) in 1994 by the New Limpopo Bridge Private Limited.

NLB (Pvt) Ltd operated the bridge for 20 years and realising about $1,6 million in revenue from toll fees monthly.

In his recommendations in the Government Gazette, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Obert Mpofu said the tolling fees would be charged in terms of Section 6 of the Toll-Roads Act (Chapter 13:13.)

The Act stipulates how much a vehicle would be charged at a specific tollgate depending on the weight and number of people it carries.

"Tolls payable for the use of the Beitbridge shall be paid at the designated office within the Beitbridge Border Post. Zinara is hereby authorised to levy, collect for the benefit of the Beitbridge fund the tolls payable in terms of section 5 (1) on vehicles using the Limpopo Bridge."

"Subject to Section 6, any person in charge of or driving a vehicle specified in the schedule shall for each instance that the vehicle is driven over the Beitbridge, pay a toll at the designated office at Beitbridge Border Post," read part of the recommendations.

Minister Mpofu recommended that vehicles, which shall not be liable to paying the toll fees would be of Zimbabwe and South African border officials, Beitbridge residents, government vehicles on official business and those of Zinara staff.

Under the tolling regulations, buses with a seating capacity of more than 24 passengers and haulage trucks with a carrying capacity of more than three tonnes fall under the heavy vehicles category.

Minibuses, which carry between eight and 24 passengers, will also pay under the light vehicles category.

Recently, Minister Mpofu said officials from transport ministries from both Zimbabwe and South Africa were tasked to come up with a memorandum of understanding over the operations of the bridge by the end of September.

The chief executive of Coach and Bus Operators Association, Alex Kautsiro, welcomed the latest development.

"As operators plying cross-border routes over this bridge, we welcome this new development. This shows that our government has a true desire to enhance our industry by improving value for the transport industry through infrastructure development.

"The most important aspect about this reduction is that it has not been lobbied for by any organisation as far as we know. It was the government's initiative through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development after receiving the bridge to unlock some value for us.

"The amount we are going to be saving from this reduction will go a long way in reducing our expenditure and increasing our bottom line," said  Kautsiro.

Source - chronicle