Disco rescues marooned communities with new bridge

04 Feb, 2023 - 00:02 0 Views
Disco rescues marooned communities with new bridge Munyati river bridge now open to the members of the public

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

ABOUT 20 kilometres after Mvuma town, along the Masvingo-Harare highway, is a popular place called Mavise which means watermelons.

At this place vendors sell watermelons to motorists and other travellers hence its name. There is a left turn at this busy place which is a gravelled road that leads to a US$3,5 million Munyati River Bridge.

This new state-of-the-art structure is less than 600 metres from Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) plant in Nyikavanhu Village in Manhize area in Chirumhanzu District in the Midlands Province.

The bridge across Munyati River, has replaced a low-level bridge that had existed for years and was becoming a nightmare for villagers due to flooding.

The locals used to refer to the low-level bridge as the border post because they were not able to cross the flooded river.
Schoolchildren from the area missed classes each time the river was flooded.

Transport operators had also abandoned the route because of not only the low bridge but also poor state of the road.
The bridge was constructed in just over six months and is part of the infrastructure development projects being undertaken by the steel company.

Disco is a subsidiary of Tsingshan Holdings, the world’s largest stainless steel producer which is building Africa’s biggest integrated steel plant in Manhize near Mvuma, whose first blast furnace is expected to be switched on in September next year.

President Mnangagwa officiated at the plant’s ground-breaking ceremony last year. The US$1 billion project is envisaged to have a positive multiplier effect on the economy, which would be felt in both upstream and downstream industries.

Munyati river bridge now open to the members of the public

The plant will produce 1,2 million tonnes of steel annually and create over 10 000 jobs. The massive steel plant is taking shape.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ward 15 Councillor Cde Simon Mapete said the bridge was a welcome relief to villagers and businesspeople in the area.

“Before the construction of this state-of-the-art bridge, there was a low-level bridge and traffic could not cross each time the river was flooded,” he said.

Mapete said locals called the bridge a border as they were always forced to abandon their journeys when the river flooded.
“Remember at any border you can be denied exit or entry. That was the same predicament we faced before this new bridge. At one time a vehicle was swept as it attempted to cross the river,” he said.

Mapete said this is the kind of development they have been praying for.
“As a community, we are benefiting from this plant and we have been praying to have such companies that come and develop us,” he said.

Tsikayi Mayesa from Mhou Village said as a watermelon growing area, they used to struggle to ferry the product to the market because of the bad road network.

“As you can see, the river is flooded and we are way above the water. This was a different setup last year. Now we have businesspeople, villagers crossing the bridge anytime they want. Benefiting from this bridge are businesspeople at Mhou business centre, schoolchildren from schools such as Nyikavanhu Primary School, Gangarambwe Primary School, Kushinga Primary School and Rambakukombwa Secondary School,” he said.

Disco public relations manager, Joseph Shoko said the bridge is part of infrastructure development projects meant to benefit three provinces.

“This bridge links Dinson Iron and Steel plant to Harare-Beitbridge Highway. It also links Gweru to Bulawayo and Hwange where we have another subsidiary that will provide coke for our blast furnace,” said Shoko.

Munyati river bridge now open to the members of the publics

The bridge, he said, links the Midlands Province to Mashonaland East and West provinces.
“Remember we are situated at the confluence of the three provinces and so if you want to go to Mashonaland East or West you can go via Manhize,” said Shoko.

Commenting on the progress in setting up the steel plant,Shoko said: “The plant is now about 50 percent complete and thousands of locals from the three provinces are employed here.”

Writing about the project recently, President Mnangagwa, said: “The Dinson Manhize Steel plant is now halfway to completion. This will be Africa’s biggest integrated steel works, reducing our country’s steel imports by 90 percent. This kind of progress shows our Government’s dedication to the future and our commitment to Vision 2030.”

Share This: