Govt and Zimborders in a deal to address border workers’ accommodation woes
Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
Government, in partnership with the Zimborders Consortium is constructing 220 houses to address accommodation challenges affecting its workers deployed to the Beitbridge Border Post.
In the last decade, inefficiency issues had been mainly attributed to the shortage of accommodation for Government agencies.
As a result, most critical departments were working with a lean staff.
However, the new dispensation and its partners are transforming the border post at a cost of US$300 million as part of the ease-of-doing-business mantra.
The project is being carried out under a 17-and-half year concession where Zimborders is pouring in money while Government is providing the land and technical advice.
Zimborders will manage the property for the duration of the concession and retain its investment from border toll fees before handing over everything to the Government.
The consortium’s chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen said civil works on the hosing section were one month ahead of the schedule.
“Construction continues and is on the schedule to be completed by the end of March next year,” said Mr Diedrechsen.
“We are one month ahead of schedule and original planning, and all the three categories of houses are under varying stages of construction.
“Some are getting finishes installed and some brickwork is underway. The clubhouse area has also been prepped and work has commenced.”
Power, sewer, and water reticulation services connections have been installed on some properties although not yet active pending the completion of major civil works.
Mr Diedrechsen said other parts of the transformation project were on track for completion.
He said Phase 3 (light vehicles terminal) will open as planned on November 30 at the border post.
“The plant and animal centre and the water reservoir are approaching completion in the next month.
“So far, we have handed over the new fire station and the sewer oxidation dam to Government for further management,” said the official.
He said they had successfully completed the freight and bus terminal which fall under Phases 1 and 2 of the project.
The acting head of immigration services at Beitbridge, Mr Trustworthy Manatsire said; “The housing project is a welcome development. This will address critical shortages of institutional accommodation for Government workers.”
He said the construction of more Government houses will go a long way in addressing staffing challenges.
Most civil servants, he said, were renting accommodation in the community.
“This is a risk as sometimes these Government workers make decisions that are adverse to some of the community members during the course of their duties,” added Mr Manatsire.
A resident of the Vhembe View suburb, Mrs Nompumelelo Chigwinya said the development would complement the border expansion that comes with the deployment of more workers.
She said the housing component will contribute a lot to efficiency issues.
The official said the community was also happy that the water and sewer reticulation facilities were being upgraded to fit into the town’s transformation into a medium city.
Beitbridge town clerk, Mr Loud Ramakgapola said accommodation in the town was scarce and where available, rentals were expensive and charged in foreign currency.
“Most civil servants are paid local currency and cannot afford to pay rentals in foreign currency.
The new houses and flats under construction will be a big relief to most civil servants,” said Mr Ramakgapola.
Another resident, Ms Melody Mabonga said it was important for civil servants to be motivated at work and at home considering that prices of accommodation and services were relatively high in most border towns.