Border post infrastructure must be improved - Ndebele

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says there is a need to improve infrastructure at border posts to facilitate the smoother transit of people and goods, which would reduce delays and congestion at key border posts.

Speaking at the 2012 Freight-Intra Africa conference held in Pretoria today, Ndebele said in most cases, delays at the borders were caused by operational inefficiencies, which resulted in certain processes being duplicated.

"Costs of doing business in Africa are very high, partly because of high transport costs, high costs of services and the erratic nature of their delivery," he said.

In order to break the cost cycle, existing infrastructure at border posts had to be improved and more efficiently used.

"The ultimate vision is to create one-stop border operations to facilitate legitimate trade and travel across the borders," Ndebele said, adding that some of the challenges relating to traffic circulation within the border precincts were due to the absence of regulation.

The minister noted that in one border post, there were approximately 10 truck stops, some of which were informal, within the vicinity of the port. This created serious congestion, including safety hazards, outside the border post.

"This is why government is looking into developing a mechanism to regulate truck stops, with the aim of prescribing minimum safety and security standards for truck stops. We also intend to prescribe the distance between the location of truck stops and border posts, as part of de-congesting our borders," Ndebele said.

In the last two years, the Department of Transport has embarked on a project to develop traffic flow optimisation plans through our major commercial border crossings.