Picture: for illustration purposes

Beitbridge Border Crossing: From Worst to Renowned Hub in Africa

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The Beitbridge border post, once infamous for its inefficiencies, has taken a pivotal turn, now being hailed as one of the most efficient border crossings in Africa. Most can recall a time when this border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe was a site of distress and delays, with travelers and truck drivers queuing for hours under scorching summer temperatures that would often cross the 40-degree mark.

Afresh take on the dire situation was needed and a holistic revamp was put into action on the Zimbabwean side, which has now resulted in truck clearance times falling from one to two days to a mere three to four hours. In a similar vein, the waiting period for passenger vehicles and pedestrians has plummeted from over three hours to under half an hour.

Beitbridge’s importance in facilitating southern African trade cannot be understated. Daily, it assists in the crossing of more than 500 trucks and over 14,000 travelers. This thriving flow of traffic is crucial for exporters from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lubumbashi, as it's their primary route to the seaports of Durban and Maputo.

The significant improvement can be largely attributed to specific design changes implemented by JSE-listed construction group Raubex. Their segregation approach for trucks, buses and light vehicles, together with pedestrians, into different traffic streams has streamlined the process remarkably.

This development, however, marks only the beginning. South Africa is planning to further upgrade its side of the Beitbridge border to formulate a one-stop border post, similar to that established between Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2009 at Chirundu on the Zambezi River.

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