THE busiest land border in Southern Africa will experience six weeks of delays as a result of an ongoing upgrade project.
Beitbridge border post, which has about 25,000 people and 500 trucks passing through daily, has been closed to non-commercial traffic since January to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The border post connects Zimbabwe and SA but also serves as the transit point for the majority of north-south trade in Southern Africa.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) said the “border post traffic handling capacity has been significantly impacted upon” as a result of ongoing construction work.
“This reduction in capacity is anticipated to result in significant congestion and delays in the effective passage of all traffic, particularly northbound traffic. This situation is projected to last for the next six weeks during which period construction work will be at its highest,” said a statement by ZIMRA.
“While the authority continues to do its best in expediting the movement of cargo through the border post, the limitations resulting from the ongoing construction work will naturally have a negative impact on the smooth movement of the traffic.”
The border post is undergoing a $300m (R4.34bn) upgrade in a public-private partnership between the Zimbabwean government and the Zimborders Consortium. SA banks, including FirstRand Bank Ltd and Standard Bank Group, also committed funding to the project.
The upgrade will be made to reduce queuing and processing delays, and new equipment and software will be installed, allowing for automated queuing and payment for trucking companies.
The border post has experienced delays and been the subject of bribery and corruption allegations for years.