Government solves border workers’ accommodation woes

The Chronicle

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
STAKEHOLDERS here have commended the Government for rolling out massive housing projects in the area that will ease accommodation woes that have perennially affected workers deployed to the country’s busiest port of entry.

A total of 220 houses are being built about 3km east of the town as part of the US$300 million Beitbridge Border Transformation programme under a private-public partnership (PPP) between the Government and the Zimborders Consortium.

These will house mainly civil servants deployed to the new-look border post which is almost complete.

Under the Beitbridge Redevelopment Program (BRP) which is meant to transform the town into a medium city, Government has since built 52 F14 houses which have already been allocated to beneficiaries.

Zimborders Consortium chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen

Civil works on 16 garden flats to house 64 families are also underway.

Zimborders Consortium chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen said work on the housing section that will be completed in April next year was ahead of schedule.

He said the transformation initiative was being done in three phases, with a freight terminal, roads, and Information Communication Technology (ICT) upgrading falling under Phase 1, while the bus terminal that falls under Phase 2 have been completed.

Phase 3, which is the light vehicles terminal, is set for completion at the end of November this year.

“We are making a lot of good progress in terms of civil works which fall under the out-of-port works,” said Mr Diedrechsen.

“It is pleasing to note that civil works on the new fire station and the 11,4 megalitres reservoir, an agriculture and animal quarantine facility, a new sewer oxidation dam, 220 houses for border workers and a fire station, have gained traction.”

The official said they had since handed over the new oxidation dam to Beitbridge Municipality to boost its capacity in handling sewer reticulation.

Beitbridge East legislator, Cde Albert Nguluvhe, who also covers the Port of Entry and the town, said the ongoing border transformation had brought in a lot of positive spillover developments to his constituency.

“You will note that all civil servants are paid in local currency, but unfortunately in Beitbridge, all rentals are paid in foreign currency, especially rands,” he said.

Cde Albert Nguluvhe

“So, most of the civil servants are finding it difficult to stay together with their families due to the high costs of rentals.
The construction of more than 200 houses for civil servants by the Government will make it easy for them to fill all the staff establishments and contribute to improved efficiencies at the border post.”

The project, he said, had also created employment opportunities for the youths, and economic development opportunities for local business people.

Cde Nguluvhe said the growth of the town had also created more markets for those in the rural communities who are into horticulture.

A representative for Young Women for Economic Development, Miss Catherine Kawaza, said the construction of more staff houses will help address manpower shortages at the border.

“As the Young Women for Economic Development, we are pleased with the Government’s move to address efficiency issues at the border.

The construction of border staff houses will improve service delivery since the staff will be staying in close proximity to their workplace and therefore this reduces the time they spend going to and from work,” said Miss Kawaza.

Chairman of the Beitbridge Informal Traders Association which has over 500 members, Mr Mafios Macheka said good office and residential accommodation will boost the morale of most Government workers.

He said already they had started witnessing changes in terms of efficiency issues and the waiting time they were spending at the border post.

“We appreciate the Government’s move to upgrade the border and to build more houses for its workers. This improves efficiency and effective border management procedures,” said a light-cross border transporter, Mr Taka Mahachi.

Regional Immigration officer-in-charge (Beitbridge), Mr Joshua Chibundu said the availability of accommodation will help most border agencies to adequately deploy more staff.

“That’s a great move by the Government and we appreciate it. Good accommodation is critical for staff as one needs good shelter to relax after a busy day,” he said.

“The building of houses will help us deploy adequate personnel. So this came at the right time and with good home accommodation and office accommodation, we will realise improved service delivery.” – @tupeyo

Article Source: The Chronicle

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