Harare - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to make sure the establishment of a one-stop border post (OSBP) in Beitbridge is completed as soon as possible, so as to improve trade facilitation between South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as enhance the North-South corridor.
The Beitbridge one-stop border post project, which commenced last year, is part of the Sothern African Development Community (SADC) efforts to promote regional integration by harmonising customs laws and promoting free trade among the regional bloc’s member states.
According to the South African National Road Agency (Sanral) statistics, there has been an increase in delays of the clearing of freight trucks since an average of 15,000 people and over 500 trucks cross through the Beitbridge border post every day, and the delays end up negatively affecting business within the region.
While delivering his speech at the recent Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission meeting in Harare, President Ramaphosa pledged his commitment to strengthening trade ties between his country and Zimbabwe, hence the need for urgent completion of the Beitbridge one-stop order post.
“As South Africa, we understand the state of Zimbabwe’s economy and we are committed to working together towards Zimbabwe’s recovery.
“We are committed to acting towards strengthening our relationships and promoting trade between our countries. Our countries have always had good relations, we have been working on various projects together during the past years and among them is the one stop Beitbridge border post which I am now calling for urgent completion of so as to allow our trade relations to flow effectively and efficiently,” President Ramaphosa said.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Joel Biggie Matiza, said he was pleased to note that their South African counterparts were ready to do everything possible to see the project reaching completion level in no time.
“South Africa’s commitment to the project is an impressive gesture, and we are grateful for that.
“It is pleasing to note that South Africa is ready to put some effort in speeding up the process of establishing the Beitbridge OSBP because we as Zimbabwe have been far ahead of them in terms of working towards this project.
“The Beitbridge OSBP project is under way and with collective efforts between the two parties involved, it will definitely reach completion soon,” Matiza said.
Upon completion, Zimbabwe will mostly look into extra-territorial and hosting arrangements as well as the harmonisation of operations that include immigration, customs and security systems.
The Beitbridge OSBP will also see travellers and cargo being cleared once for both entry and exit, ruling out the current process in which the process is done on both sides.
SADC countries have shown commitment to the OSBP initiative, and several countries are working towards the implementation of the idea.
Zimbabwe and Zambia successfully launched an OSBP at Chirundu border and it has seen traffic going to Zambia getting cleared on the Zambia side, while traffic going to Zimbabwe is cleared from the Zimbabwean side.
Efforts to establish another OSBP in Victoria Falls for an easy crossing between Zambia and Zimbabwe through Victoria Falls and Livingstone are underway.
Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also working on a Y-link bridge across the Zambezi River that will link the three nations, as well as a one-stop border post at Kanyemba that will promote free trade among the three nations.
Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia are in the process of establishing another OSBP at the Kazungula border post.