A TOP official at Beitbridge Town Council has urged the South African and Zimbabwean governments to urgently establish another border post at Maramani village, to ease congestion at the country’s main transit point.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
Speaking at a farewell party for southern region immigration manager Notious Tarisai on Saturday, Beitbridge town secretary Loud Ramakgapola said apart from decongesting Beitbridge town, the envisaged border post would cut distances and costs borne by villagers who travelled long distances to Beitbridge Border Post en-route to South Africa.
“This border post was planned and an immigration house built, but it ended with that. We feel this should be pursued because it will be handy,” he said.
Ramakgapola, a Shashi villager, said thousands of people in his home area and other surrounding areas stood to benefit from such an investment.
“Tarisai was passionate about having that border post established, but he is leaving before realising that dream mooted many years ago,” he said.
The two countries share a 325-kilometre-long border marked by the Great Limpopo River also known as Vhembe or Gulugudela (Crocodile River).
There is only one official crossing point at Beitbridge unlike Zimbabwe’s border with Botswana which has more than four border posts despite limited trade.
Zimbabwe and SA in the late 1990s established seasonal informal crossing points at Dite and Nottingham Estates in the east and west of Beitbridge respectively discontinued due to alleged corrupt abuse of the facilities.
The Maramani border post if established can open tourist opportunities in the wildlife and history-rich Mapungubwe Trans-Frontier Game Park shared by Botswana, SA and Zimbabwe.
Mapungubwe is home to Tuli Circle, the British northern launchpad during the famous Anglo Boer War, which is also the point through which the Pioneer Column entered the then Munhumutapa Kingdom.
It is also home to an ancient city by the same name, where Munhumutapa was headquartered before settling at Great Zimbabwe monuments.
Ramakgapola also invited government officials deployed in Beitbridge to invest in the border town he said was by any standards the fastest, growing settlement in the country.
“Take advantage of your deployment and invest here. Build houses, we are ready to give you stands and you become part of this growing town,” he said, extending the offer to South African officials who were in attendance.
Tarisai advised his juniors to shun corruption.
“I am leaving the department without having been called for a disciplinary hearing or being arrested of any crime which I am proud of,” he said.
“Your job is to facilitate travellers, do just that. It’s not a very paying job, but you meet many people whom you network with,” he said.
“You must develop yourselves and do not accept bribes,” he said, adding he was happy to leave when the border post had been rid of touts and criminals.
“We owe that to the Zimbabwe National Army which helped clean the border post,” he said.
Tarisai joined the Immigration department in 1981 and rose to become a manager.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority official in Beitbridge, Bertha Mutowembwa, donated a holiday package for Tarisai.
Tarisai said he would venture into farming.