Communications DM visits Beitbridge

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Communications Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana says the governments of South Africa and Zimbabwe continue to maintain close contact in monitoring events at the Beitbridge border post.

The Deputy Minister visited Beitbridge on Wednesday as part of a broader initiative to deliver digital services to public facilities in Vhembe District.

Her visit to the busiest land border in the country comes on the back of protests in the neighbouring country, sparked by steep fuel price increases, which led to scores of people trying to cross the border into South Africa to buy basic necessities.

While reports state that shops have since reopened and business is starting to return to normal in Zimbabwe, authorities in both countries continue to closely monitor developments.

Kekana said officials at Beitbridge are equal to the task of effective border management.

“The Ministers of Home Affairs in South Africa and Zimbabwe are forever in close contact to make sure that they monitor the situation... Our personnel, including police and soldiers, are on the ground… monitoring various points in the system.”

Kekana’s visit was in part an opportunity to look at how infrastructure, particularly broadband, can support the One Stop Border initiative, which was approved by Cabinet in December 2018 for implementation.

The One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) National Framework provides guidance towards the speedy establishment of OSBPs between South Africa and its neighbouring countries. The OSBPs will enhance trade facilitation without compromising national security or revenue collection through the efficient movement of goods, persons and services between South Africa and the adjoining states of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

It will also result in the region realising a faster border clearance and limited duplication of border agency interventions, which in turn improves trade competitiveness and movement of person by cutting down on cost and time.

“We wanted to see how the economy will bring itself [together] at the border, including the project that Limpopo province is embarking on at the [Musina-Makhado] Special Economic Zone...” said Kekana.

The SEZ -- which focuses on energy, metallurgical processing, agro-processing, petrochemicals and logistics -- has the potential to turn the region into a smart city, which Kekana said can be achieved with the rollout of broadband.

The Deputy Minister is currently in Limpopo, where she is unveiling various digital services at public facilities in Vhembe District.

The services will enable the rural communities to become part of the digital society and improve services rendered. –