Pamela Shumba Bulawayo Bureau
SOUTH Africa is committed to working with Zimbabwe in strengthening economic ties to ensure development in both countries, South Africa’s Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi has said.
Speaking in Bulawayo during the occasion to receive railway equipment under the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)/Transnet $400 million recapitalisation deal, Minister Maswanganyi said it was imperative for the two countries to work together and utilise every opportunity that contributes to increased industrialisation.
“As the South African Government we’re committed, through the bi-national commission between the two countries to work with Zimbabwe closely in building the economies of the two countries,” he said.
“The two countries have always had a good relationship. The NRZ-DIDG/Transnet partnership will go a long way towards harmonised and safe movement of freight and passengers in the region.”
Cde Maswanganyi said the two countries were working towards a concept of a one-stop-border-post to allow easier movement of transport and people at Beitbridge Border Post.
“We believe that together we will achieve the concept of a one (stop) border post. I’m also working with my counterpart in Zimbabwe, Minister Gumbo, to add more frequencies when it comes to aviation between South African Airways and Air Zimbabwe between Johannesburg and Harare and other towns in the two countries.
“There are also other programmes that we’re working on together as the two departments of transport,” he said.
“As the two neighbouring countries, we’ll work together to realise this objective of the single transport market in the continent.”
The SA minister said transport was the heartbeat of economic growth and social development in any country, hence the importance of partnerships between the two countries.
“In South Africa, we’ve also started working on our fleet renewal programme. Coupled with this development is a train manufacturing and maintenance factory, where 580 passenger coaches will be manufactured,” he said.
“Efficient logistics are also fundamental to unlocking opportunities in the agricultural sector and positively contribute to economic growth, job creation and skills development. Transnet is therefore critical to fulfilling all these strategies and linking South Africa with the rest of Africa through Zimbabwe. This will allow Transnet to partner on a range of opportunities in the continent and beyond.”