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SA buyout firms take equity in Zimbabwe border post

To modernise Zimbabwe Beitbridge border, one of Africa’s busiest land border crossings.
Image: Bloomberg

Private equity firm Harith General Partners Pty Ltd. and the Phembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund are buying equity in a company investing $296 million to modernise Zimbabwe Beitbridge border, one of Africa’s busiest land border crossings.

Zimborders Mauritius has a 17.5-year concession to design, build and operate the public-private partnership project, with the possibility of a five-year extension. The investment will be a critical step in unlocking trade between Zimbabwe and South Africa as Beitbridge border has been characterised by long waiting times for trucks attempting to cross, according to Harith Chief Executive Officer Sipho Makhubela.

“Beitbridge’s capacity constraints have had a stifling effect on economic activity, adding cost and risk to a vital channel of trade,” he said on Sunday. Harith is also invested in other transport links on the continent including the Lanseria airport in South Africa and rail services provider Traxtion Africa.

The rehabilitation, construction and upgrades will happen on the Zimbabwe side of the border. The nation’s economic crisis led to underinvestment in critical infrastructure such as Beitbridge, where about 25,000 people and more than 500 heavy trucks cross every 24 hours.

Zimbabwe’s border infrastructure was built at a time when far fewer people and less freight crossed the Limpopo River that separates it from South Africa. The outdated equipment still used in vehicle checks, coupled by reams of documentation, often mean delays for trucks headed north to the rest of the continent.

Among other upgrades, the fresh investment through Zimborders will go into installing automated queuing and payment systems to minimise human interaction and the risk of fraud and corruption. It’ll also be spent on modern cargo-scanning equipment for faster inspection and detection of contraband and dangerous cargo.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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Given the state of that bakkie/ trailer combo and the clear overloading of supposedly “roadworthy” vehicles permitted on our roads, I believe mbalula should CONCENTRATE and open a ministerial branch office at our border post with zim!

The anc could not manage as spaza store, never mind road safety, a border post or our country!…move over anc ejits!

my advice to Zimborders Mauritius is: keep in mind – you can make it as modern and automated as you like – the tipe / quality of traffic / travelers are going to stay the same for at least the next 100 years. At the end of the day fraud and corruption is caused by collaboration between the users of the border post and of the employees of the border post control – forget about modern equipment to improve your border control.

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