Plans to operationalise the Beitbridge One-Stop Border-Post are now at an advanced stage with various meetings lined up between Zimbabwe and South African officials.
South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mphakama Mbete made the remarks after paying a courtesy call on Acting President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga at his Munhumutapa offices.
Beitbridge Border Post is one of the busiest ports of entry on the continent and in 2009 Zimbabwe and South Africa agreed to set up a one stop border post to facilitate the smooth flow of business for the benefit of both countries.
However, not much progress has been registered over the years to upgrade the border post.
The implementation of the project came under the spotlight during today’s courtesy call.
Under the one-stop border post, travellers would be cleared once for passage into either country, unlike the current scenario where people are subjected to the same processes on both sides of the border.
After a closed door meeting with the Acting President, Ambassador Mbete told journalists that there is now renewed urgency to ensure that the one stop border initiative is operationalised and to that end several meetings have been lined up between the two governments.
“To this effect, the Premier of Gauteng also will be visiting Zimbabwe,” said Mr Mbete.
A joint technical committee to develop the necessary legal framework for the project is already in place and the implementation of the project is in line with the government’s policy shift on enhancing the ease of doing business as well as promoting regional trade.
Ambassador Mbete says the sister republics share strong bonds assuring Zimbabweans living in South Africa of guaranteed safety from any form of victimisation where local subjects are pressurised to return home during election periods.
According to statistics from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Department of Immigration, an estimated 170 000 people, 15 000 haulage trucks, 35 000 private cars and 2 500 buses access the country through Beitbridge border post every month.