ZIMBABWE’S biggest port of entry, Beitbridge Border Post which borders the country with South Africa, risks being closed next week after workers in the neighbouring country’s Home Affairs Department, including immigration officers gave notice to go on strike and down tools over overtime pay.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa and Public Servants Association served that country’s Department of Home Affairs with a notice to go on strike from 19 June after a stalemate over the issue of overtime pay when the workers work on Saturday.
The employees are demanding payment, instead of days off, for working on Saturdays but South African Government is arguing that it would incur a serious budget shortfall if it were to accede to demands of workers’ unions.
Zimbabwean officials are however, optimistic that the South African Home Affairs Department and its workers will reach an agreement to avert the strike.
If the no movement is effected as stated by the union leaders, it means Beitbridge will be closed for the day posing serious movement problems not only for Zimbabwe but for the rest of the region. Beitbridge handles more than 3 500 vehicles and 9 000 people on average on a daily basis.
PRE-commencement works on the $1 billion Beitbridge-Harare highway dualisation project have begun while actual construction of the road is expected to start within a month, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo has said.
There are reports that the company contracted to dualise the highway, Geiger International of Austria, has agreed terms with a local financial institution for the handling of its funds.
The Austrian company was contracted by Government to carry out the project under a 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) model at a cost of $998 million.
Dr Gumbo yesterday said the contractor was busy with pre-commencement works following a ground breaking ceremony for the project by President Mugabe two weeks ago.
“They are busy on the project, setting up camping areas which will house workers as well as their equipment,” he said.
President Mugabe is expected to officially launch the $1 billion Beitbridge-Harare and Harare-Chirundu highways dualisation project tomorrow, in a development likely to reduce carnage along one of Zimbabwe’s busiest roads.
The road will also boost trade on the continent, as well as unlock value for the country.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces will commission the official start of the dualisation project at a ground-breaking ceremony that will be held along the highway at Chaka business centre in Chirumhanzu.
Geiger International of Austria was contracted by Government to dualise the highway under a 25-year Build Operate and Transfer model.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo yesterday confirmed that President Mugabe would officially launch the dualisation project tomorrow.
Dr Gumbo said preliminary indications were that the project was going to be completed within three years, with work expected to resume once President Mugabe officially launched it.
GOVERNMENT has put brakes on the US$3 billion Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu dualisation project, despite the recent hype around what could be Zimbabwe’s biggest infrastructure project since independence in 1980.
The dualisation project was supposed to be launched by President Robert Mugabe last month, with construction work starting this month.
But Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister, Joram Gumbo, said this week that government was no longer in a hurry to start the project.
“The project cannot be rushed,” Gumbo told the Financial Gazette. “A project of this magnitude involves a lot of complex processes that cannot be completed overnight.”
Asked why he was backtracking from government’s earlier commitment, Gumbo said there were many bureaucratic processes involving different arms of government which were stalling the project.
BEITBRIDGE Town Council is reportedly struggling to provide adequate water supplies to its residents because of its outstanding $12 million debt to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, in its recent report on service delivery by local authorities, said Beitbridge town’s water treatment capacity had also slumped to 5 000 cubic metres of raw water per day against daily demand of 15 000 cubic metres.
“As at May 2016, Beitbridge Town Council owed Zinwa $12 million, including interest of $4,3 million charged on the amount owed, and Zinwa charges 92 cents per cubic metre for its water,” read the committee report.
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