By Lynette Kozosi
The border posts of South Africa and Botswana have extended their operating hours from 22h00 to 24h00 along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor.
The implementation of the extension effective since December 14 will enable travellers to access entry/exit through the corridor with an additional two hours.
The agreement was signed in pursuant to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) during a meeting that was attended by key government officials from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia in Maun, Botswana.
The signed (MoU) resulted in the establishment of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC).
The TKCMC is supported by a permanent secretariat hosted by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, whose mandate is to focus primarily on the joint development and management of the Trans Kalahari Corridor.
As a result of the MoU and the TKCMC, the customs authorities agreed to the extension of the border operating hours at the Trans Kalahari/Mamuno border post, between Namibia and Botswana that became effective from 1 October 2000, from 06h00 to 24h00.
At that time, the differences in border operating hours between Namibia/Botswana (06h00-22h00) and Botswana/South Africa (06h00-24h00) restricted the Trans Kalahari Corridor efficiency.
According to Agnetha Mouton, business development officer of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, transporters departing during the afternoon from Gauteng were not able to arrive at the border before it closed at 22h00.
This led to drivers staying overnight and generating unnecessary costs due to standing costs.
“The recent implementation of the extension of the border operating hours between Botswana and South Africa has brought the border posts in alignment with each other in respect of operational hours along the Trans Kalahari Corridor,” she said.
The extension of the border hours enhances the already implemented trade facilitation measures such as simplified customs procedures, standardised Single Administrative Document (SAD500) and common bond, with the already extended border operating hours at the Trans Kalahari/Mamuno border posts which commenced in the year 2000.