Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has created more than 1 500 jobs for locals under the ongoing US$300 million Beitbridge Border Post modernisation and upgrade project.
Beitbridge is one of the busiest border posts in Africa, which not only connects Zimbabwe and South Africa but also serves as the transit point for the majority of north-south trade in Southern Africa.
The massive project is one of the key economic and developmental initiatives being spearheaded by the Second Republic across the country, which have created employment for local communities in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
The major component of the projects underway in the border town include the modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post into a world class commercial hub.
In July 2018, President Mnangagwa presided over a ground-breaking ceremony at Beitbridge Border Post, ahead of its revamp.
Other ongoing works include the construction of water and sewer reticulation infrastructure and 220 houses for border staff, a new Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) depot, a fire station, an agriculture and animal quarantine facility, a new sewer oxidation dam and 11,4 megalitres water reservoir and the upgrading of a section of the Beitbridge-Harare Road.
In an interview yesterday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Permanent Secretary, Engineer Theodius Chinyanga, said the project has generated employment for 1 515 people in the construction, ICT, general operations and long-term maintenance of the infrastructure at the border.
“According to our employment data, the ongoing Beitbridge Border Post modernisation and upgrade project has created a total of 1 515 jobs for our people comprising 1 276 males and 239 females,” he said.
“In terms of construction, we have generated employment for 1 337 people, 30 in ICT, 148 under operations and long-term maintenance of the infrastructure since the first phase.”
Eng Chinyanga said the second phase of the upgrading and modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post is now complete.
“Everything is going smoothly and contractors are actually ahead of schedule.
The second phase of the project is complete,” he said.
“Under the third phase, we are also putting a 11 million-litre water reservoir so that the shortage of clean water in Beitbridge becomes a thing of the past. We are also constructing 220 houses for staff.”
The modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post is in line with Vision 2030, which seeks to attain an upper middle-income economy.
It is one of the milestone projects being undertaken by the New Dispensation to enhance the ease of doing business and trade facilitation for the whole region.
Eng Chinyanga said the modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post will increase the volume of traffic and improve efficiency in terms of the movement of travellers.
Civil works are being rolled out in three phases with new terminals being built for each vehicle category.
The project will see new terminals being built for each vehicle category.
They will also include new vehicle parking areas and feeder roadways.
The first phase, which was confined to upgrading the buildings, warehouses, roads, installing new weigh-bridges and a new main freight terminal building, is complete.
The second and third phases involved the construction of new terminals for buses, light vehicles and pedestrians.
New cargo scanning equipment is being installed to allow for faster inspection of cargo and detection of fraud, contraband and potential threats; explosives, radioactive materials, among others.
The completion of the entire project will spur economic growth in terms of regional trade and development.
The Beitbridge Border Post upgrade is being implemented through a public-private partnership arrangement with ZimBorders, and is the biggest investment for any city so far in the country.
The project is being upgraded through a 17-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement between the Government and ZimBorders Consortium.
The consortium is made up of a group of Zimbabweans, South Africans, international entrepreneurs, financial institutions and experts.
Under the initiative, the Government is providing technical support while ZimBorders through various financial institutions, is funding civil works.
ZimBorders Consortium chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen recently told the Chronicle that they are on course to meet their target with construction works on Phase 3 starting next month and expected to be completed by November this year.
The Chronicle news crew recently visited some of the sites of the projects and observed tremendous progress.
Work on the construction of a dual carriageway from the border post to an intersection of the Bulawayo and Harare roads is on course.
The drill tower at the fire station is complete with the facility set to be handed over to council next month.
A drill tower is a facility that is used by firefighters for their routine exercises and training.
A traffic circle has been constructed where the road branches to Bulawayo and Harare and priming is in progress.
A detour has been created to divert traffic from the construction zones.
Contractors said most of the works on the stretch are complete with the road expected to be opened to traffic at the end of this month.
Construction of the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) depot and houses for border staff is progressing well with most of the structures at roof level. Some of the houses for the border staff have already been roofed.
Eng Chinyanga said the Government engaged a new contractor, Exodus and Company to resume works at the VID depot.
“On the new VID depot, we engaged another contractor to resume works and they are yet to provide a revised programme,” he said.
“When the project was suspended, it was at 89 percent completion.” — @mashnets.