IN this digital age, our border posts are expected to move with the times and embrace technology so that clearing of goods is done efficiently.
Our border posts have been so porous and delays are the order of the day. These delays have been a breeding ground for corruption as money exchanges hands for goods to be cleared timeously.
This has seen traffic congestion at Beitbridge Border Post, with haulage trucks spending five days in queues awaiting clearance.
Five days is a lot for a serious border post to clear goods. The delays being experienced at Beitbridge Border Post will backfire on Zimbabwe as truckers will opt for alternative routes in the southern African region. There is a high possibility that haulage trucks will opt for Kazungula, a one-stop border post linking Botswana and Zambia.
Zimbabwe would be the major loser if haulage trucks opt for Kazungula Border Post. It means loss of revenue for the country. Zimbabwe was not part of the deal to construct Kazungula Bridge, hence it cannot benefit from the revenue collected at the border post, also the route does not pass through Zimbabwe.
Kazungula, which caters for transporters along the North-South Corridor, reportedly has a waiting period of eight hours.
Given the mess at Beitbridge, there is nothing to stop truckers from opting for the quicker Kazungula route.
So we urge authorities at the Beitbridge Border Post to minimise the time traders spend at the border post if the country is survive competition from Kazungula.
With government committing to rehabilitate Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway, the positive move would encourage traders to prefer Zimbabwe but the delays negate the authorities’ efforts as haulage truck drivers are likely to shun Beitbridge.
In May this year, when Kazungula was commissioned, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who attended as guest, tried to smuggle Zimbabwe into the deal so that it would benefit from the bridge knowing full well that his efforts were futile.
He said: “In the fullness of time, Zimbabwe will be part of this hallmark project, which accelerates our regional integration efforts.”
Only time will tell when Zimbabwe will be part of the project that was shunned by the late former President Robert Mugabe.
It is high time authorities rein in whoever is sabotaging the country by denying it the much-needed revenue.