The Zimbabwean side of the Beitbridge border post is now on track to get an US$ 300 million (ZAR 4.5 billion) upgrade after key investments have received green light to be set to work.
The private equity firm Harith General Partners and the Phembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund have now bought shares in Zimborders, which has a concession to design, build and operate the border post for more than 17 years as part of a public-private partnership project. Large banks in South Africa also committed funding to the project.
Beitbridge, near Musina in Limpopo, is one of the busiest border posts on the continent, with hundreds of large tracks crossing every day. The border post not only connects Zimbabwe and South Africa but also serves as the transit point for the majority of north-south trade in Southern Africa.
The border post has been hit with long delays, and accusations of bribes and corruption, for many years. This should become an issue of the past as the upgrades include (but are not limited to):
- New terminals for each vehicle category which are correctly sized, and include adequate vehicle parking areas and feeder roadways.
- The latest generation of cargo scanning equipment, to allow for faster inspection of the cargo and detection of fraud, contraband and potential threats (explosives, radioactive materials, etc.). This will also ensure that the requirement for manual unloading and inspection will be greatly reduced.
- Existing buildings will be improved and expanded to accommodate new equipment for the various clearing processes.
- A new housing development in the town of Beitbridge
- New facilities for informal traders.
Construction on the new terminals and buildings have started, and are expected to be completed within 24 months!