Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The new bus terminal for Beitbridge Border Post, part of the US$300 million modernisation of the border post and basic town infrastructure, is now being tested prior to its opening next Wednesday.
The Zimborders Consortium, in partnership with the Government, committed US$300 million for the whole modernisation and upgrade programme in Beitbridge set for completion in April next year.
The initiative is being implemented on a 17,5-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession between Zimborders Consortium and the Government.
Under the arrangement, the consortium will manage and maintain the infrastructure for the duration of the concession and gain a return on invested capital from border toll fees.
Zimborders Consortium chief executive officer Mr Francois Diedrechsen said the project had been divided into three phases to ensure civil works were carried out without disrupting the border post.
These works include a freight terminal, roads, and upgrading of ICT facilities (Phase 1), buses terminal (Phase 2), and the light vehicles terminal and out of port works (Phase 3).
“We have completed all the construction works including the ICT developments under Phase 2 of the Beitbridge Border Post modernisation,” he said.
“At the moment, we are having a test run for these works — including the buses terminal —as we prepare for its opening on June 1 and I can safely say, we are on schedule. Training of border officials, decanting and relocation from the old building is underway.”
Mr Diedrechsen said technical glitches were being fixed on the dot to ensure there was a seamless opening of the buses terminal.
Construction works on Phase 3, which is the light vehicles terminal, will start next month and be completed at the end of November this year.
“The first phase being the freight terminal and ancillary services were opened last year and we are on course to complete the project under set timelines,” he said.
Good progress was being made in terms of civil works which fall under the out-of-port works, basically the upgrade of infrastructure for Beitbridge Town to support the border post facilities.
“It is pleasing to note that civil works on the new fire station and the 11,4 megalitres reservoir are ahead of schedule. These will be completed in the next three months.
Other works include an agriculture and animal quarantine facility, a new sewer oxidation dam, 220 houses for border workers, and a fire station, among others,” said Mr Diedrechsen.
The agriculture and animal-plant will be completed at the end of this year, and that the tempo had picked up on the housing development set for completion in April next year.
The new oxidation dam had already been handed over to Beitbridge Municipality to build its capacity to handle issues of sewer reticulation.
“We have set different targets for the out-of-port works, and we expect to wind up all such projects in April next year,” said Mr Diedrechsen.
It is envisaged that upon the completion of civil works, the border post will carry fivefold its current estimated capacity of 600 000 travellers, 30 000 commercial trucks, 15 000 buses, and 120 000 light vehicles monthly.
In addition, the improved facilities will result in improved border efficiency systems and the infrastructure and it is also being built to accommodate the proposed One-Stop-Border-Post between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Among other things, inadequacies in infrastructure have been attributed as the major sticking point to the full implementation of the one-stop concept.