Officials from Zimbabwe and South Africa have called for the one-stop border post project at Beitbridge to be implemented at a faster pace.
Government ministers from both African states met in Beitbridge on Thursday and agreed that the time to start the project was now.
Ministers Nicholas Goche (Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development), Tendai Biti (Finance) and Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga (Regional Integration and International Co-operation) represented Zimbabwe. South Africa was represented by Mr Collins Chabane, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.
The ministers said in a joint statement after the meeting that the border post was facing a number of challenges which hindered the smooth movement of people and goods.
“The challenges include; infrastructure (both hard and soft), non-synchronised border processes and procedures, multiplicity of border agencies which have resulted in delays, congestion and increases in the cost of doing business not only for the two countries, but other Sadc countries as well,” they said.
“The two countries noted with regret the serious delays that have affected previous efforts to redress the structural and software challenges at Beitbridge and therefore acknowledged the urgency of the situation.
“We have pledged to recommit ourselves to improve the situation at Beitbridge border post in order to jointly address the multi-faceted problems affecting travellers and intra regional trade.” The ministers said a high-level meeting would be held before the end of October to work out an implementation action plan towards the signing of an MoU.