SA to upgrade Beitbridge, Lebombo and other border posts

SA to upgrade Beitbridge Lebombo and other border posts.png

South Africa will upgrade six of its busiest land border posts to make them safer, less porous and more efficient to facilitate trade and the legal movement of people, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Wednesday.

Speaking during a media briefing, Motsoaledi said the government had earmarked six ports for upgrading or redevelopment, including Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, Kopfontein, and Oshoek.

He said the upgrading of the border posts would make it easier for people and companies to easily enter and exit the country, halting the movement of illicit goods and people.

“The South African government is committed to putting in the latest infrastructure and relevant technology in its efforts to modernise and upgrade our ports to be on par with the current global best practices on border management,” Motsoaledi said.

He added that ports of entry had been designed during the apartheid era, with the primary objective of tightening security, while neglecting the effective facilitation of regional and international trade.

“Since the advent of democracy, there has been an exponential increase in the number of people moving between South Africa and the countries in the region. The volume of regional and international trade has similarly increased.

“As a result, our land ports of entry are very congested and that continues to stifle trade, instead of enabling it. If you want to understand what we are talking about, just take a visit to the Lebombo Border Post between SA and Mozambique, where you will see trucks lining up for kilometres, bumper to bumper, for hours on end, on the N4 Corridor,” Motsoaledi said.

This is because mining companies in the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have taken a decision to use the Maputo port for exports rather than the Port of Richards Bay.

“Given the current narrow design of the port, this has led to congestion. The announcement we are making today will make sure that what is happening there, will become history,” he said.

The government has identified six of the country’s 53 land ports of entry as the “largest and busiest” and earmarked them for redevelopment to reduce congestion.

“The outcome of the redevelopment of these ports of entry will be used as a blueprint in the long term for all other South African land ports of entry. The primary intention is to ensure the realisation of regional economic integration in the SADC region while facilitating the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” Motsoaledi said.

To ensure ongoing operations are not interrupted, construction will be undertaken in phases. The project is expected to create 38 000 jobs in areas around the ports of entry.

– SAnews.gov.za

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