PRESIDENT Mnangagwa will today meet his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, during the launch of the neighbouring country’s Border Management Authority (BMA) in Musina, Limpopo Province.
The two leaders are also expected to jointly tour the Beitbridge Border Post before having their meeting in South Africa’s border town.
Among other issues, the two leaders are expected to deliberate on a number of border management related issues and help improve service efficiency through matching the development matrix between South Africa and its neighbours including Zimbabwe, which has since transformed its component of the border.
The Zimbabwean government has already completed the upgrading of Beitbridge Border Post at a cost of US$300 million in a private public partnership with the ZimBorders Consortium.
Beitbridge (Zimbabwe), which now has three terminals for freight, buses and private cars/pedestrians and is also automated, links South Africa with
Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, DRC, Malawi and Tanzania.
In a statement yesterday, South Africa’s Presidency said, the launch of the BMA follows its formal establishment and assumption of its status as a schedule 3 (A) public entity on 1 April 2023.
“The establishment of the BMA means that South Africa now has an integrated border management platform, with a single command and control with which to support the attainment of secure borders, safe travel and trade,” read part of the statement.
“As part of the launch, President Ramaphosa will receive President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Republic of Zimbabwe to hold official talks and undertake a guided tour of the Beitbridge Border, supported by members of the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee (IMCC) on the BMA.
“The President will then proceed to officiate the launch of the BMA at the Musina Show Grounds and also handover a Sword to the Commissioner of the BMA to delegate the powers to lead the third law enforcement authority in the Republic”.
Beitbridge border post
The two Heads of State’s visit to SADC’s busiest inland port of entry follows the approval by Pretoria of a proposal by the Ministry of Home Affairs to upgrade six of its major ports of entries including the Beitbridge Border Post.
The neighbouring country’s Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, told the media in Pretoria recently that he has since got the full support of the Minister of Finance Mr Enoch Godongwana to start on the projects.
The six earmarked ports of entry are: Beitbridge – Zimbabwe, Lebombo – Mozambique, Maseru Bridge – Lesotho, Ficksburg – Lesotho, Kopfontein – Botswana and Oshoek – Eswatini.
He said the six (POE) projects will cover the full infrastructure development of each designated border post and the provision of the required services.
This, he added, will also ensure a coherent and coordinated support of institutional functions of all Organs of State present at the Port of Entry.
“In order to ensure that the ongoing operations at each of the designated Ports of Entry are not interrupted, construction will be undertaken in phases,” said Dr Motsoaledi.
“During construction, the project is expected to create in the order of 38 000 jobs in areas around the six designated ports of entry.
“The project is being undertaken on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis. The procurement process is, therefore, subject to the procedures set out in Treasury Regulation 16 for initiating, procuring and concluding PPP projects.”
He said the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the six Ports of Entry projects were issued on Sunday this week and they were already inviting interested parties to participate.
The RFP, Dr Motsoaledi said, was on the e-tender portal and other government websites, including the Department’s website.
He said they were now looking for partners to engage them in the planned infrastructure development model.
“When I delivered my speech at the Budget Vote, on 17 May this year, I announced my gratitude at the approval granted by Finance Minister, Mr Enoch Godongwana for the Department of Home Affairs to issue the Request for Proposal to the market for the redesigning and redevelopment of our top six busiest Ports of Entry,” said Dr Motsoaledi.
He said South Africa’s ports of entry were designed during the Apartheid era with the primary objective of tightened security whilst neglecting the effective facilitation of regional and international trade.
“In fact, ladies and gentlemen, it is not an exaggeration to state that when you visit our land ports of entry, between us and our SADC neighbours, the South African side of the border looks like informal settlements while the other side looks like Sandton,” said the minister.
Dr Motsoaledi said the volume of regional and international trade has similarly increased. As a result, he said South Africa’s land ports of entry are very congested and that continues to stifle trade instead of enabling it.
“The announcement we are making today will make sure that what is happening there will become history,” said Dr Motsoaledi.
“We wish to remind you that we have 72 Ports of Entry of which 53 are land, 11 are international airports and 8 are seaports all of which are now operated by the Border Management Authority.”