Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Government has shortlisted three companies for final selection of a developer who will upgrade and expand the infrastructure at the Beitbridge Border Post on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement, a senior official said yesterday.
In an interview, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni said the upgrading of the border post will also expedite processes culminating in the implementation of the one-stop border post concept between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
He said several companies had since sent their bids to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) for consideration and that an inter-ministerial committee overseeing infrastructure development was now seized with the selection of one developer.
“At the moment, we are looking at proposals made by three companies over the border upgrading programme,” said Deputy Minister Mguni. “We are attending to the matter with the urgency it deserves. You must also note that the take-off of the project might take a while because we need to be thorough in choosing the final developer, considering that this is a build-operate and transfer set up.
“In such arrangements, we have to take due diligence and make correct analysis to ensure that we appoint someone who will work against efficiency, international trade or the movement of people.”
Deputy Minister Mguni could not be drawn to reveal the names the three companies, but said the final developer will be unveiled in due course.
He said the inadequacy of infrastructure at the port of entry was the main bottleneck towards the implementation of the one-stop border post concept.
“We have seen the artistic impression of the final outlook of the border and are confident that civil works will begin soon,” said Deputy Minister Mguni. “It is prudent for us to upgrade the border post as a matter of urgency and accord it a befitting status as the busiest inland port in sadc.
“As the hub of transport and trade in the region, we must modernise the facilities at our port into a world class urban centre,” he said.
Deputy Minister Mguni added that there were reports of delays of cargo and human traffic at the border, which had to do with the infrastructure and staffing problems. He said under the border upgrade, more houses will be constructed for Government workers to ensure that all the relevant departments were adequately staffed.
“We appreciate efforts being made by customs, immigration and security in ensuring the smooth flow of operations, but these need to be capacitated if we are to make headway as a country,” he said.