Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
The Government has partnered with the Zimborders Consortium to construct 220 houses to address accommodation challenges affecting its workers deployed to the Beitbridge Border Post.
In the last decade, inefficiency issues had mainly been attributed to the shortage of accommodation for government agencies.
As a result, most critical departments were working with a lean staff.
However, the new dispensation and its partners are transforming the border post at a cost of US$300 million as part of the ease of doing business mantra.
The project is being carried out under a 17-and-half-year concession that has seen Zimborders pouring in money and the Government providing the land and technical advice.
Zimborders will manage the property for the duration of the concession and recoup its investment from border toll fees before handing over everything to the Government.
The consortium’s chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen said civil works on the housing section were one month ahead of schedule.
“Construction continues and is on schedule to be completed by the end of March next year. We are one month ahead of schedule and original planning, and all the three categories of houses are under varying stages of construction.
“Some are getting finishes installed and some brickwork is underway. The clubhouse area has also been prepped and work has commenced in this area also,” he said.
Power, sewer, and water reticulation services connections have been installed on some properties.
Mr Diedrechsen said other parts of the transformation project were on track for completion.
He said Phase 3 (light vehicles terminal) will open as planned on 30 November this year at the border post.
“The plant and animal centre and the water reservoir are approaching completion in the next month. So far, we have handed over the new Fire station and the sewer oxidation dam to the Government for further management,” he said.
He said they had successfully completed the freight and buses terminal which fall under Phases 1 and 2 of the project.
The acting head of immigration services at Beitbridge, Mr Trustworthy Manatsire said: “The housing project is a welcome development. This will address critical shortages of institutional accommodation for government workers”.
He said the construction of more Government houses will go a long way in addressing staff challenges.
Most Government workers, he said, were renting accommodation in the community.
“This is a risk as sometimes these Government workers make decisions adverse to some of the community members during the course of their duties,” added Mr Manatsire.
Beitbridge town clerk, Mr Loud Ramakgapola said accommodation in Beitbridge was scarce and available rentals were expensive and charged in foreign currency.
“Most civil servants are paid local currency and cannot afford to pay rentals in foreign currency. The new houses and flats under construction will be a big relief to most civil servants,” said Mr Ramakgapola.