Gaborone — The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mr Kenneth Matambo says there are no plans to upgrade Makopong, Middlepits and Bokspits border posts because South Africa has designated only four border posts on their side as commercial border posts.
The four, which were designated as such for purposes of processing exports and VAT refunds for goods leaving South Africa, were Ramatlabama, Pioneer, Tlokweng and Martins' Drift, he said.
Mr Matambo, who was responding to a question in Ntlo ya Dikgosi on Tuesday, pointed out however that Botswana remained hopeful that the South African government would in future designate more border posts on their side as commercial border posts to allow exportation of livestock through such border posts as Makopong, Middlepits and Bokspits.
"In the meantime, individual farmers are allowed, when exporting goods including livestock, out of South Africa to apply to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for a special dispensation to use the Makopong, Middlepits and Bokspits border posts to export their livestock ," he said.
Kgosi David Toto of Kgalagadi South had asked the minister to state when the three border posts would be upgraded to address the issue of Batswana having to endure long distances to export livestock from South Africa as they had to use the McCarthy's Rust and Bray border posts.
Still in Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Minister Matambo indicated that the normal operating hours for Makopong, Middlepits and Bokspits borders were 0730 hours to 1630 hours whereas those of Hereford border post were 0800 hours to 1600 hours.
The minister said it was government's desire to extend the hours of operation in order to efficiently serve the respective catchment areas, indicating however that such extensions were not decided unilaterally but would instead be subject to agreement with South Africa.
Mr Matambo said Botswana would take up the matter with the South African government during the next Bi-National Commission meeting.
Kgosi Toto had wanted to know whether government would consider extending the hours of operation of the mentioned border posts.
Source : BOPA