Zimbabwean president ED Mnangagwa officially launched the $200m revamp of Beitbridge border post which includes improvements to customs facilities, perimeter fencing, gate-control infrastructure, parking areas, staff accommodation, a weighbridge, and the town’s commercial centre.
The project by Zim Borders, which won the tender earlier this year, is hoped to eradicate manifold problems at one of Africa’s busiest hinterland crossings.
It is estimated to some 15 000 people and 500 commercial trucks pass through Beitbridge daily, and that crumbling capacity is imperilling the already severely strained border post.
In peak times, when passage and trade spikes, Beitbridge is a no-go zone for anyone hoping to get anywhere fast.
But on Wednesday, amid much fanfare and excitement, Mnangagwa said the refurbishment project was about to put paid to negative notions that Beitbridge was a hopeless mess of congestion and corruption.
The launch followed hot on the heels of salary raises for public officials, from 17.5% to 22.5% giving others an impression that it was just a political ploy given that elections are due in two weeks and that the Zimbabwe Government is broke.