Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Zimbabweans yesterday hailed the Second Republic for delivering on its pre-election promises to accelerate infrastructure development, especially the modernisation and transformation of the Beitbridge Border Post and the county’s southern border town.
Civil works on the border post began last year under the US$300 million Private Public Partnership (PPP) between the Government and the Zimborders Consortium.
The massive project, which is being done in three phases including the freight, bus and private vehicles and pedestrians’ terminals, was commissioned by President Mnangagwa yesterday.
The freight terminal was completed in October last year while the bus terminal opened to traffic in June this year.
Work on the private vehicles and the pedestrians’ terminal is underway and expected to be completed in November this year.
The project also comes with five spill over projects which have set the border town on the road to transformation into a medium city.
A new fire station, 11,4-mega-litres water reservoir, an animal plant and quarantine, the construction of 220 staff houses for border workers and the upgrading of the sewer reticulation facilities fall under the out-of-port projects.
Zimborders Consortium chief executive officer Mr Francois Diedrechsen said civil works on most projects had been completed, while in some areas they were ahead of schedule by three months.
The whole project is set to wind up in June next year.
“We have completed the first and second phases of the transformation project which are being commissioned today by President Mnangagwa,” he said.
“The last part of in-port works will be completed by the end of November. In terms of out-of-port works, we are left with the completion of the housing development and we have handed over other facilities to the Government.”
Mr Raniel Ndou of Tshidixwa suburb in Beitbridge said the rate at which the Government was carrying out infrastructure development projects in the town was impressive.
He said the Second Republic had completed most key projects in the town in a record two years, including the opening of a passport processing office.
Mr Ndou said the upgrading of sewer, water and roads infrastructure had in the last decade became an elusive dream.
“We have had this dream to see our area being transformed and now the Second Republic is living up to its promises,” he said.
“A lot of civil works are underway. In fact, we are seeing an infrastructure development revolution in our town.”
Ms Emelly Moyo of Dulivhadzimu said she was happy that the Beitbridge border transformation had created over 1 000 job opportunities for the local communities.
She said they were hopeful the Government will continue with its infrastructure development drive.
According to Mr Nhlanhla Nguluvhe of Vhembe View Suburb, the upgrading of roads and sewer and water infrastructure fitted well into the town’s rapid development as an urban centre.
“We are a face of the country to those coming in from South Africa and as a community we are happy that most of service delivery deficiencies have been addressed by the Government in a short space of time,” he said.
Senator for Beitbridge Cde Tambudzani Mohadi said the community was very receptive of the attention being given to the area by central Government.
She said a foundation had been laid for Beitbridge’s long envisaged modernisation.
“We are grateful, the Government through its various agencies has made our perennial dream a living reality,” said Cde Mohadi.
Midlands’ Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Larry Mavima, who witnessed the commissioning of the massive project said completion of Beitbridge modernisation showed that Zimbabweans were capable and committed to develop the country.
He said infrastructure development in Beitbridge will go a long way in building the town’s economy by creating related investment opportunities.
Another Beitbridge resident, Miss Princess Mbedzi, said the 5km dualisation of the road linking the port of entry and the highways leading to Bulawayo and Harare will help solve the perennial vehicular traffic gridlock along the road stretch.
South Africa’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mrs Rejoice Mabudafhasi, said the commissioning of the multifaceted project marked a new era for the state of affairs at the two countries’ border.
She said the project was a huge investment and it was one of the best inland ports in the world.
Mrs Mabudafhasi said the new facility had become a marvel to many people using it for trade or ordinary travel into Sadc.
“We are very excited that the ambiance at our border has changed and everyone going to either Zimbabwe or South Africa now enjoys passing this place with improved infrastructure and service delivery,” she said.
“We commend all those who built this infrastructure which is also very critical in the implementation of the One-Stop-Border-Post concept between our two countries.”