Beit Bridge border set for major revamp

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the Beit Bridge border post, one of six large land ports of entry, has been identified for infrastructure development.

“The masterplan for the development of Beit Bridge has been finalised and we are in the process of appointing a service provider,” Motsoaledi said.

Addressing the media in Cape Town on Tuesday, Motsoaledi said the service provider will come from one of the five consortia that were approved in 2018.

“These consortia are made up of construction companies and related professional services, such as engineering firms,” Motsoaledi said.

Ports of entry will be developed in partnership with the private sector through public-private partnerships and with neighbouring countries, said the Minister.

“The partnership with our neighbouring countries centres on creating One Stop Border Posts (OSBP). This model means that people and trucks will be processed by both countries under one roof.

“When we move over to this model, people and trucks will only stop once at a border and be processed by both countries. We are pursuing the OSBP in association with other government agencies,” Motsoaledi said.

Motsoaledi recently had a fruitful meeting at the Kopfontein border post, with his counterpart from Botswana, on the One Stop Border Post and other immigration issues of mutual interest.

“It is important to develop these ports of entry to reflect our commitment to easing the movement of people and goods through the ports,” the Minister said.

Government will also implement the Border Management Authority (BMA) in phases and will prioritise Beit Bridge as one of the areas where it will start with the implementation.

“Beit Bridge shall have two programmes running more or less at the same time - that is the One Stop Border Post and Border Management Authority,” he said.

Among other functions, the BMA will facilitate and manage the legitimate movement of persons within the border law enforcement area and at ports of entry.

“It is our considered view that the BMA will improve service efficiencies at the ports, through integrated operations.

“It will improve the way South Africa handles border management, so as to assist the country in delivering on regional mechanisms vital for the envisaged integration and free trade area for our beloved continent,” Motsoaledi said.

The Department of Home Affairs is currently looking at incrementally establishing and rolling out the BMA to designated ports of entry and key segments of the land borderline.

Last week, the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs deliberated on the amendments that were made by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) when it passed the Border Management Authority Bill in December 2019.  –