Authors: M Mashiri & J Chakwizira

Keyword: reliable infrastructure, South Africa

SDG: SDG9

Agenda 2063: A2

Facilitating regional trade and commerce is vital for the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It also constitutes a pivotal policy plank for South Africa in terms of bolstering regional economic integration. However, a host of constraints and impediments located and operating at different scales make prospects for increased and unencumbered economic activity amongst the countries of this regional economic community (REC) untenable. One such formidable impediment is a non-tariff barrier associated with land ports of entry (POEs). This paper presents an exploratory analysis of constraints and impediments at selected POEs into South Africa. This is achieved through taking stock of the status quo at 15 of the 53 official POEs with a view to exploring challenges related to the efficient movement of people, goods and information into and out of South Africa. Literature reviews were supplemented by insights gleaned from interaction with a cross-section of stakeholders including truck drivers, travellers, and customs officials. In addition, on-site observations at POEs ensured that a richer understanding and interpretation of the research findings was achieved. While the research findings attest to the existence of pockets of good practice at some POEs, the overwhelming evidence was of POEs largely operationally manacled and hamstrung by structural constraints. The study provides recommendations revolving around the need to adequately plan for and upgrade the physical infrastructure, for example, in terms of redesigning clearing facilities to facilitate easy flow of pedestrian and commercial traffic, deploying adequate infrastructure for law monitoring and enforcement, as well as implementing a raft of strategic and operational measures at individual POEs aimed at optimising the use of the port and minimising border delay. In the long-term, institutional reform relating to, for example, the establishment of a single agency dedicated to border management, a commitment to continuous capacity building as well as the development of one-stop-border-posts (OSBP) at selected POEs are considered integral to efforts to finding long-term solutions.