Botswana and South Africa are still to meet the agreements signed between former Presidents Lieutenant General Ian Khama and Jacob Zuma to have all roads leading to their respective border posts on each side tarred.
Records show that the border between the two countries is 1, 223 miles in length, making it Botswana’s longest international border. More than 90 percent of the border line follows rivers such as Limpopo, Nossob, Molopo and Marico. The two countries share 15 official border posts a matter which makes travel between the two countries relatively easy. Khama and Zuma made the commitment that all the roads leading to border posts in their respective countries must be tarred during the two countries’ Bi- National Commission on Defence and Security in November 2017 held in Gaborone.
The two countries also agreed to build bridges on Border Rivers with South Africa taking responsibility to construct the bridge over Notwane River near Ramotswa border while Botswana was to build the bridge over Limpopo River at Platjan border post. South Africa has completed the Ramotswa bridge assignment.
The Platjan Bridge is currently under construction after a delay due to contractual agreements. The construction will also include the tarring of the 20 kilometre road between Platjan which is financed under the SPEDU region as it is expected to boost tourism in the eastern region as well as cut the distance for those travelling up north from South Africa. Both countries are to determine for themselves depending on the budget on which roads are supposed to be done first. Currently most roads from South Africa are not yet tarred.
Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Moagi Molebatsi who is eager to score big on his constituents asked the Minister of Transport and Communications, Dorcas Makgato on whether her Ministry has engaged their South Africa counterparts regarding the tarring of the Sikwane−Rustenburg road.
Makgat’s short response was, “The answer is “no,” to the question asked by Honourable Molebatsi”. She said her ministry has not engaged their counterparts in South Africa regarding the tarring of the Sikwane-Rustenburg road. However, she acknowledged that on the Botswana side though, “we have a tarred road all the way to the Sikwane border”.
This particular road is gravel from the Derdeport border post on the South African side to Obakeng village which is about 30 kilometres. So far, the South African government has completed tarring the road from Obakeng to Rustenburg. The roads that are still to be tarred on each side are mainly in the eastern block and leading to the respective border posts of Platjaan, Paarshal, Zanzibar and Pontdrift.