SADC approves new cross-border rules

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Thando Mnkandhla

Windhoek - The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has approved a set of revised guidelines for cross-border transporters.

The Revised Regional Guidelines and Harmonisation and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations across the Region, and Regional Standard Operating Procedures for the Management and Monitoring of Cross Border Road Transport at Designated Points of Entry and Covid-19 Checkpoints got the nod at a virtual Extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting on June 23.

An initial set of guidelines was approved on April 6, and the Council of Ministers has updated these to factor in lessons learnt since then.

The revised guidelines aim to structure smooth and harmonised processing of COVID-19 regulations by member states, for purposes of promotion of safe trade and transport.

The updated regulations will also facilitate implementation of the SMART corridor trip monitoring system for management of cross-border movements, which will bolster driver wellness, vehicle tracking, contact tracing and queue management.

Council of Ministers Chair Professor Palamagamba John Kabudi called on SADC to continue exhibiting determination and solidarity in addressing COVID-19.

Prof Kabudi said it was important to have stringent and co-ordinated measures to contain the pandemic.

SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax added, “All indications show that until a vaccine for the treatment of COVID-19 is found, which might take a while, the region has to remain pragmatic and vigilant by considering  both, health requirements, but also socio-economic imperatives."

Members of the bloc that are yet to establish National Transport and Trade Facilitation Committees with expanded membership to include public health, public security and the private sector were urged to do so expeditiously.

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