BY REX MPHISA
CHAOS has rocked Beitbridge Border Post where haulage trucks are taking up to five days to be cleared after Zimborders, a private company contracted to upgrade the border on a build operate and transfer basis is levying US$201 per vehicle passing through the just-completed commercial terminal.
The commercial section of the US$300 million upgraded border was opened last week, but some stakeholders have raised concern over its electronic system.
But Zimborders has denied responsibility for the delays.
“There is congestion which we are working on and I can confirm that as of yesterday (Wednesday), the traffic was flowing smoothly. The systems is working so this is not the reason for congestion,” Zimborders spokesperson François Diedrechsen said.
“The vehicle queues has been a matter that has been happening for several weeks and one of the reasons being that with South Africa and Zimbabwe curfew regulations during lockdowns, clearing agents and runners were not working at night and given the traffic volumes, backlog was growing by the day.”
“Even after curfew hours had been relaxed many of these workers were still not working in the evenings,” he added.
However, other stakeholders have dismissed Diedrechsen’s claims, blaming the company’s erratic system for the congestion.
“They are not being honest. Trucks are delayed because their system is erratic and failing, resulting in slow movement of vehicles,” an unnamed Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officer said.
“Their parking area is inadequate and the backlash is going for more than 5km. They cannot speak about curfew because (shipping) agents, transporters and all border officials were recognised essential service providers who are not held back by the curfew,” the officer added.
Zimborders was contracted to upgrade Beitbridge Border Post and run it for 17 years.
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