Date: 06 October 2017 By: Andries van Zyl
South Africa and Zimbabwe have established a joint committee to work on improving operations at the Beit Bridge border post.
The South African Government News Agency (SAnews) reported on Tuesday that President Jacob Zuma had announced that a joint technical committee would be established with officials from SA and Zimbabwe to set up the Beit Bridge One-Stop Border Post (OSBP). The team will develop the necessary legal framework for this project. Beit Bridge is the busiest road border on the continent, with much of the goods and services between Zimbabwe and South Africa passing through this strategic point. During the peak of the festive season in 2016, more than 31 000 travellers passed through the border post daily.
South Africa and Zimbabwe held the second session of the bi-national commission (BNC) at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Tshwane this week. President Zuma said it was necessary to bolster the efficiency of Beit Bridge. “I wish to underscore the strategic significance of a One-Stop Border Post at the Beit Bridge border. This border post is the busiest border post on the continent,” Zuma said.
According to SAnews, an OSBP aims to improve the legal movement of people and commodities across borders. Currently, travellers are processed at two facilities of the two respective countries. An OSBP would result in seamless movement at the border as travellers would be processed at one facility.
The establishment of the Beit Bridge OSBP forms part of the government’s implementation of the Single Border Management Agency. Last year, South Africa and Mozambique integrated the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border post, also known as Komatipoort.
President Jacob Zuma said Beit Bridge was key to boosting the two countries' economies and, as such, unnecessary delays at the border must be avoided. Zimbabwe is one of South Africa’s top five trading partners on the continent, with trade statistics showing annual growth. In 2016, South Africa’s exports to Zimbabwe amounted to approximately R29.3 billion. "It is important and urgent that we start in earnest the process of establishing a OSBP. Our two countries took a decision to do so as far back as 2009," said Zuma.
The issue of the Beit Bridge OSBP also formed part of the 2016 BNC held in Harare, Zimbabwe, last year. It was then decided to establish a Joint Trade and Investment Committee by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and the urgent need for the establishment of a OSBP at Beit Bridge/Musina. The 2016 BNC also decided to finalise the modalities for its establishment by the time of the next bi-national commission in 2017.
President Zuma and President Mugabe urged the relevant ministers and officials to work speedily on the project. They want a progress report at the next BNC. (Source: South African Government News Agency)
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.