BEITBRIDGE East legislator Albert Nguluvhe (Zanu PF) has called on authorities to install closed circuit television gadgets and public lighting system on the two bridges across the Limpopo River to help curb crimes committed at night.
BY REX MPHISA
Nguluvhe also urged the government to consider the removal of road access fees and reduce toll fees for Beitbridge residents, whose visits to South Africa are more need-driven than anything else.
In an interview with the Southern Eye yesterday, Nguluvhe said Beitbridge residents visit South Africa for medical purposes and other services that are only available in towns at least 300 kilometres from the border town inland of Zimbabwe.
“To get specialist medical attention, service cars and other essential services, one has to go to Bulawayo or Masvingo; 300km away. Musina, in South Africa, is just 15km away and offers the same, but toll and road access fees are prohibitive. We appeal that some considerations be made for locals,” Nguluvhe said.
“It is not a crime that people are geographically here. The people must enjoy the privilege of where they are resident and for Beitbridge, access to nearby South Africa is one of them,” he said.
The government charges $18 for a round trip to and from South Africa and an additional carbon tax and road access fees of $10 on return.
Asked how the selection of local beneficiaries would be done, considering it could be open to abuse, Nguluvhe said the voters’ roll could be handy.
Nguluvhe also challenged authorities to maintain the old Beit Bridge and its successor the New Limpopo Bridge by installing efficient lighting in the wake of the two structures having become crime hot spots.
It is suspected that some rogue government employees from both South Africa and Zimbabwe, who benefit from human trafficking and smuggling, tamper with the lights to make good their illicit business deals.
The two bridges are guarded by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe National Army, who maintain a 24-hour presence.
He said he would also lobby the government for the Beitbridge Municipality to be allocated a percentage of what is raised by Customs and Excise at Beitbridge for developmental purposes.
Nguluvhe feels that rates paid by local residents were inadequate to improve the border town, which caters for large volumes of its transient population.
A Zimbabwe National Road Authority official who collects tolls at Beitbridge said maintenance of the two bridges was the responsibility of the Roads Department under the Transport ministry.