Beitbridge transformation to enhance Zim-SA one stop border

The Chronicle

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

The modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post at a cost of US$300 million will pave way for the implementation of a one-stop border between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Government and the Zimborders Consortium are carrying out massive infrastructure development project under a private public partnership concept.

Under the build, operate and transfer project, the consortium will manage and maintain the infrastructure for 17 and half years before handing it over to the Government.

Suborders Consortium general manager, Mr Nqobile Ncube said the new port infrastructure will pave way for a one stop border post.

He was addressing stakeholders during the handover of 220 housing units to Government recently.

The staff houses, a 11, 4 mega litres water reservoir, a fire station, an animal plant and quarantine and oxidation dam, were constructed by the consortium as part of the out-of-port works under the same modernisation project.

Zimbabwe and South Africa have for over a decade been planning to have a one stop border to improve the flow of people and cargo between the two countries.

“Under a one stop border traffic is cleared once for departure or arrival at one point with the two nations having to harmonise immigration and customs systems, and this saves time and streamlines processes,” said Mr Ncube.

At the moment travellers and cargo are going through duplicate processes at both countries sides of the border, which at times results in long delays.

The official said Zimbabwe now has adequate infrastructure at Beitbridge that can house even South Africans when the one stop border concept starts.

He said the Beitbridge border transformation has become a benchmark for most countries in the Sadc region which were now looking into adopting the same model.

“When the one stop border post comes in, in simple terms it means what is across should be mirrored by what you find across, and as Zimbabwe we have moved at a faster speed in transforming our component,” said Mr Ncube.

“So, our counterparts have the task to replicate or mirror what is on our side. We have set a standard as Zimbabweans. Besides the in-port-works, we have done a lot on out-of-port works, which addresses issues of water, sewer, fire management, animal movement control and accommodation challenges which have not been cured for a long time”.

Mr Ncube said the border project was key in implementing the Border Efficiency Management System (BEAMS) pillar which is key to the implementation of the One-Stop-Border Post (OSBP) concept.

“It is pleasing to note that infrastructure at the new look port of entry was constructed in a plan that is open to adaptability including accommodating the One Stop Border Post (OSBP,” he said.

“You will note that the first goal of the border is traffic separation which has been done through the construction of the freight, bus and light vehicles and pedestrians terminals. These are key to immigration and other border agencies, as they create an efficient way of administering people that go through the port of entry,” said Mr Ncube.

He said on traffic separation, as it stands, commercial cargo, buses and light vehicles are getting customised services at specific terminals. The port of entry clears a total of 15 000 people daily off peak and 30 000 travellers during peak periods.

Border authorities are also processing up to 1000 commercial trucks, 1100 light vehicles and 120 buses daily at the same point of entry.

He said the Beitbridge transformation project was three months ahead of schedule and they expect to wrap up the whole initiative by the end of June this year.

It is also envisaged that the volume of human and cargo will increase five times when the project is completed.

Matabeleland South’s permanent secretary for provincial affairs and devolution, Mrs Lathiso Dhlamini Maseko said the Second Republic has transformed the port of entry and Beitbridge town at a tremendous pace.

“We are happy to note that such huge projects are being implemented in the province and they have not only changed the face of Beitbridge town. The trailblazing initiative has become our pride,” she said.

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Felix Mhona said the border transformation initiative is a great example of what can be achieved through successful public-private partnerships.

He said the project resonates well with the President’s developmental principles.

The minister said in 2018 the Government took a position to modernise the Beitbridge Border Post which was facing a myriad of problems.

One of the problems was the acute shortage of infrastructure, including decent housing for workers of state and quasi state agencies working at the border.

The Minister said Beitbridge town has its fair share of accommodation challenges due to the fast-growing population.

“Owing to these challenges, border agencies have been deploying less than optimum staff leading to reduced efficiency,” he said.

“The housing challenges had a negative effect of disenfranchising workers, thus leading to poor work ethics and other unfavourable vices.

As a result, the Beitbridge Border post was chosen to be a trailblazer and pioneer project of upgrading and modernising our borders, including a flourishing housing facility, which we are launching today. Under such circumstances, the Government saw it fit to include housing as part of this project”.

In 2022, South Africa’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs visited the border and identified the implementation of a one-stop border post and the roll-out of the Border Management Authority (BMA) as the keys to resolving challenges at all land borders.

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Article Source: The Chronicle

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