Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The South African government has reaffirmed commitment to upgrade its side of the Beitbridge port of entry to speed up implementation of the One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) concept with Zimbabwe.
The move is set to enhance flow of both cargo and human traffic.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said the programme is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Infrastructure Championing Initiative. He was briefing members of the media recently on progress on the Border Management Authority and the impact of increased capacity during the 2019/20 festive season and the extension of working hours from January 2 to 10.
“We are taking a cue from President Ramaphosa, who, soon after assuming the African Union chairmanship, told NEPAD Heads of States and Government Orientation Committee Meeting of the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative that the Beitbridge Border Post connecting South Africa and Zimbabwe together with related road and rail infrastructure, is one of the projects which have been shortlisted to be fast-tracked,” he said.
“This commitment galvanises us to move with speed in meeting our mandate of facilitating economic growth in a manner that does not compromise our national security. This is one of six large land ports of entry which we have identified for infrastructure development. These land ports of entry have high traveller and trade volumes.
“It is important to develop these ports of entry to reflect our commitment to easing the movement of people and goods through the ports.”
Dr Motsoaledi said the ports will be developed in partnership with the private sector through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and with neighbouring countries. He said they will also enter into partnerships in creating One-Stop Border Posts (OSBP).
According to the minister, the model means that people and trucks will be processed by both countries under one roof.
Currently, people and cargo have to duplicate processes to enter the ports of entries.
“When we move over to this model, people and trucks will only stop once at a border and be processed by both countries. We are pursuing the OSBP in association with other government agencies,” said Dr Motsoaledi.
He said he had since held fruitful meetings with his counterparts from Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini (Oshoek border post), Lesotho (Maseru border post) and Mozambique (Lebombo border post) with the view of rolling out the OSPBs.
He said the master plan for the development of Beitbridge had been finalised and that they were in the process of appointing a service provider.
Dr Motsoaledi said the service provider will come from one of the five consortiums which were approved in 2018.
“This development will be funded on the basis of a 20-year concessionaire,” he said.
“When we implement the Border Management Authority in phases, we will prioritise Beitbridge as one of the areas where we will start implementation.
“Beitbridge shall have two programmes running more or less at the same time, that is, the One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) and Border Management Authority (BMA). The BMA is a cog in our social, political and commercial interaction with our neighbours.”