South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs plans to issue a public request for proposals “in a few months’ time” for an ambitious R6 billion project to completely overhaul and rebuild South Africa’s six busiest border posts, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi has confirmed.
Responding to a Moneyweb question during a joint briefing with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday related to addressing trucking blockades, Dr Motsoaledi said the planned border post upgrade project is linked to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and is to ensure the border posts have appropriate infrastructure.
Motsoaledi said the Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts must be completely overhauled.
“If you go there [Lebombo border post] you will find trucks queuing for about 20km. That embarrasses us. It’s not good for the AfCFTA,” he said.
“The project is going to be a PPP [public-private partnership] and is going to cost more than R6 billion. In fact, it is a minimum R6 billion project.”
JSE-listed construction group Raubex in November 2020 was awarded a two-year R2,4 billion lump sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract by Zim Borders for the modernisation, expansion, upgrading and improvement of the Beitbridge border post in Zimbabwe.
This is Raubex’s single biggest contract to date and involves the upgrading of the Zimbabwe border post and the development of a town, dam and infrastructure around the border post.
The project is largely being funded by South African banks, with Raubex being paid in US dollars.
Raubex CEO Rudolf Fourie said on Tuesday they are scheduled to complete the Zim Borders contract in April 2023 and the company will be very interested in bidding for the South Africa border post project.
He said Raubex will specifically be “very keen” on the Beitbridge border upgrade project on the SA side because the company already has massive plant and equipment in Musina, Limpopo.
“We are looking forward to it [the project]. It suits us to a ‘T’. We don’t know if we can do all of them. It depends on the nature of the scope of the project,” he added.
Fourie said they have not yet received details about the project, such as what the Department of Home Affairs wants, the design, and whether it is a 20-year PPP project.
He said it has also not yet been confirmed if the department will bring out each border post upgrade as a package.
“If it’s one project [package], we will have to tie up with somebody in a JV [joint venture] because it’s quite big. If it’s specific packages, we will probably go [bid] for two border posts.”
JSE-listed construction and engineering group WBHO is also expected to be interested in bidding for the project, while unlisted smaller contractors such as Concor, Grinaker-LTA and Hillary Construction, are expected to submit bids in joint ventures because of balance sheet limitations.
Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly said Motsoaledi’s statement is made in the context of foreigners coming into South Africa.