Zim, SA fast-track Beitbridge project

Chief Reporter
President Mugabe wants Beitbridge One-Stop Border Post complete within a year, with his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma expressing equal commitment to the cause, The Sunday Mail can report.

This emerged during the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission’s closed-door session in Tshwane, South Africa, last week as the two leaders knuckled down on establishing Africa’s busiest integrated border post.

Soon after the session, a team was dispatched to lay the groundwork for rollout of the project and it is expected to report back to the Heads of State within six months.

An official who attended the session disclosed that Presidents Mugabe and Zuma were keen on getting down to work immediately.

“Both Presidents made a firm commitment to the One-Stop Border Post and we should expect to see massive development there. On his part, President Mugabe said let’s accomplish Beitbridge in one year.

“He said let’s pick our shovels and picks to do the digging. We don’t need investors for this because we can do it for ourselves and get it finished in one year,” the official said.

President Zuma envisioned booming economic activity and regional trade, the official said.

“Mr Zuma said Beitbridge cannot be busy for cars only. His words were that let’s successfully complete Beitbridge so that it caters for many needs of users. We should trigger economic activity at Beitbridge.

“He said South Africa and Zimbabwe are the key anchors of Southern Africa in terms of trade. He also said the two countries should grow the economy for young people from both countries.”

Minutes of the BNC obtained by The Sunday Mail show significant progress on the Beitbridge project.

A portion reads: “The Commission recalled the decision taken at the previous BNC that the two countries meet and agree on the modalities of the establishment of the OSBP at Beitbridge.

“The Commission noted that the task team has been established under the Defence and Security Sectorial Committee and visits have been undertaken to Chirundu and Beitbridge border posts.

“The Commission noted the continuous delays currently taking place at Beitbridge due to border processing inefficiencies such as the cargo tracking system and container depot processes.”

The minutes also say: “The Commission agreed to work with the currently established task team under the leadership of the Department of Home Affairs from South Africa and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce from Zimbabwe.

“The task team will look at solutions to address the inefficiencies at the border post which could form part of the broader border post issues to be addressed. It was agreed that the task team should meet within six months.”

Beitbridge is Africa’s busiest inland port.

The one-stop concept has improved the flow of traffic and reduced the cost of doing business at Chirundu One-Stop Border Post between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

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