South Africa and Botswana have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) that will see the two countries improve cooperation to stimulate economic growth and aance regional integration.
“Key to our agreement is that it will enhance regional integration as well as economic development. It will also enhance the free movement of people across our two countries,” Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Monday, before signing the MoA.
“We are very excited about this because it shows that our engagement over the years has started to bear fruits.”
Part of the MoA includes the Upgrade of the Road and Bridges Infrastructure Development Initiatives between South Africa and Botswana, which entails cooperation in all designs, construction, financing, rehabilitation and maintenance.
In March 2007, the Regional Action Agenda Report was developed with the intention of identifying gaps, prioritising projects and thereby promoting regional integration and development.
The document is a practical action agenda, which identifies projects that should be undertaken to ensure regional economic development and integration.
This will improve the competiveness of the region through reduced transport costs and minimised delays in the movement of goods and commuters.
Rammotswa Bridge is one of the projects that are being implemented as part of the programme to upgrade bridges and river crossings connecting the two countries.
The project scope entails reconstruction of the bridge and preliminary designs have been completed.
According to Minister Peters, South Africa has already demonstrated its commitment by setting aside, R20 million for completion of the project.
She also announced that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has a dedicated project manager based in the Northern Region managing the process on the ground.
Botswana Transport and Communications Minister Nonofo Molefhi said: “As South Africa is an economic hub in the region, it remains an attractive trade partner for most of our products and services.
“The road and bridges project will go a long way in terms of strengthening regional integration as envisioned in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocols.
“This agreement will be received in ululations by Botswana, who has been eagerly waiting for this project to be executed and we must implement the project with speed.”
Swartkopfontein Commercial Border
Swartkopfontein is a non-commercial border post, which caters mainly for light vehicles, passengers and pedestrians.
Currently, 250 vehicles and 460 people pass through the Swartkopfontein Border Post in both directions on a daily basis. Official concessions are required for the transport of commercial goods across the border.
The border post serves as a convenient, economic route between South Africa and Botswana, particularly to Zeerust in South Africa and Gaborone, Lobatse and Ramotswa in Botswana.
The border post is closed for periods during the rainy season when the existing concrete drift river crossing through the Notwane River is submerged.
This border is ideally positioned between the commercial border posts of Kopfontein and Ramatlabama, and will relieve the pressure of traffic on these border posts if it can be upgraded to be usable on a regular basis.
The border post is to be upgraded to allow for the uninterrupted use of the facility and to provide safe conditions for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles while crossing the border.
Source : SAnews.gov.za