By Thupeyo Muleya
South Africa yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to upgrade its side of the Beitbridge port of entry to speed up the implementation of the One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) concept with Zimbabwe.
The move is set to enhance the flow of both cargo and human traffic. South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, said the programmes were in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Infrastructure Championing Initiative.
He was briefing journalists on progress on the Border Management Authority (BMA) and the impact of increased capacity during the 2019/20 festive season and 2-10 January extended hours.
“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 more partnerships in creating OSBPs.
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 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.
The master plan for the development of Beitbridge had been finalised and authorities are said to be in the process of appointing a service provider.
Dr Motsoaledi said the service provider will come from one of the five consortia, which were approved in 2018.
“These consortia are made up of construction companies and related professional services such as engineering firms. After that, the department will finalise the contracting arrangements before construction starts. This development will be funded on the basis of a 20-year concessionaire.
“When we implement the Border Management Authority in phases, we will prioritise Beitbridge as one of the areas where we will start implementation. Hence, 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,” said the minister.
He said the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs had already deliberated on the amendments, which were made by the National Council of Provinces when it passed the Border Management Authority (BMA) Bill in December 2019.
“What is now left is for the National Assembly to consider the amendments made and process the Bill further.
“The proposed BMA legislation will provide for the establishment, organisation, regulation, functions and control of the BMA,” he said. The Chronicle