By Thupeyo Muleya
The company contracted by Government for the $241 million Beitbridge Border Post modernisation project yesterday said they were now finalising the designs and work plans with civil works expected to begin in February next year.
In an interview during a tour of the border post, Zim Borders director, Mr Lous Raubenweimer, said they expected to start initial buildings in the next three months.
He said the project was being implemented under a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement which will see Zim Borders recouping its funds through border access fees to be collected over 17-and-a-half years, before handing over the property to Government.
Zim Borders was awarded the tender to upgrade and modernise the port of entry in December 2017.
Among other things the upgrading and expansion of the border post is expected to speed up the processes culminating in the implementation of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) concept between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“Currently, we are busy with the planning process. There are a lot of buildings we intend to put here and hence we have brought all the stakeholders for an appreciation of what we intend to do going forward,” said Mr Raubenweimer
“You will note that at tender stage you send your preliminary designs and now is the time to get busy on the ground. We are now putting together every detail together with the resources, services and upgrades the structures will get. These include electric, sewer, water, data cables among others.”
Some of the works under the modernisation programme include the construction of more commercial customs offices, paving and expansion of sewer and water reticulation facilities, separation of traffic into buses, light vehicles, tourists, commercial vehicles, construction of a commercial bridge to link with South Africa and the upgrading of Beitbridge Municipality’s key infrastructure among others.
According to Mr Raubenweimer, the project will include building another village for border workers.
“There are talks that there will be a new bridge to link South Africa and Zimbabwe, but that has not yet been included in our initial phase. We believe the two governments are still working on the issue,” he said.
The director of roads and operations in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Engineer Kudzanayi Chinyanga, said the work programme was on course and they expected everything to go according to plan.
“The idea is to familiarise all government actors and agencies on the border.
“This is why we are here with the contractor to understand work programming and work phasing.
“The project will start in earnest in February. This is meant to allow detailed planning and to capture every agency’s input into the works.”