BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
SOUTH Africa has expressed frustration over congestion and delays at the Beitbridge Border Post, with the country’s Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi piling blame on Zimbabwean authorities.
Truckers are spending several days at the border owing to delays caused by new processing procedures introduced by Zimbabwean authorities on Wednesday.
Motsoaledi described the new measures, which include demanding United States dollar toll fees in cash without engaging their South African counterparts, as unreasonable.
He claimed that construction work on the Zimbabwean side had also reduced parking space.
The toll fees are pegged at US$200 and US$340, respectively, for small trucks and abnormal trucks.
“Zimbabwe’s decision ‘to charge people US$200 and demanding the money in cash’ has complicated matters,” Motsoaledi told South Africa’s eNCA.
“It’s not only a logistical nightmare, but it makes a mockery of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
“I am sure you are aware the African Union signed this free trade agreement which was publicised all over.
“In order for that to be a free trade agreement, you are aware that this is a breach to that.”
AfCFTA was mooted in 2014 to facilitate the free movement of goods, services and people across the continent.
Motsoaledi said the delays at the border “are killing business between South Africa and the rest of the continent”.
“This is the gateway between South Africa and the rest of the continent.
“It’s a mockery to think a country can just introduce measures without even involving us. For the past three days, I have been phoning their minister and all I get is that your call has not been successful,” Motsoaledi added.
Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe had not yet responded to questions sent to him over the matter by the time of going to print last night.
But Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana claimed a long queue on the South African side showed the problem lied with the neighbouring country.
But Motsoaledi said apart from limited parking space, the absence of automated clearance on the Zimbabwean side and the unavailability of clearing agents at night was worsening the
Zimborders Consortium is undertaking the US$300 million Beitbridge modernisation project that will see new terminal buildings being constructed.
The company was awarded a contract to manage the facility for 17 years, pocketing about US$73 million a year
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