Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
Government has rehabilitated a 10km stretch along the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road as the Second Republic steps up efforts towards completing outstanding infrastructure development projects in the Matabeleland region.
Under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, Government is scaling up rehabilitation of major roads across the country as a key enabler to business viability and investment attraction.
Developing sound road infrastructure is one of the critical enablers towards achieving set targets under the National Development Strategy (NDS1), Government’s five-year economic master plan, which spans from 2021 through to 2025.
In line with the budgetary allocation, Government has said it will, on a yearly basis, rehabilitate between 10km and 15km of the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho and Bulawayo-Nkayi roads.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development Engineer Theodius Chinyanga said in line with Government’s development agenda of leaving no one and no place, the Second Republic is attending to the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road, which has been in a bad state.
“We are attending to the roads because they are of socio-economic development value to the country. It is also the obligation of the Government to make sure all the roads are accessible and traffickable as well,” he said.
Eng Chinyanga said Government is rehabilitating the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road in phases and for now the ministry is focusing on a 10km stretch.
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development had created a detour in the area near Mbuyazwe Primary and Secondary schools stretching for 10km which has since been tarred and widened.
Other parts of the road have also been regravelled to make them traffickable.
Eng Chinyanga said the ministry will continue to follow its schedule in terms of the rehabilitation works.
“We are sticking to 10km because of the funding we got from the Treasury, which is constrained since there are competing priorities all over the country. So, we are trying to balance the budgetary allocation,” he said.
Treasury allocated $194,8 billion towards the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development of which ZWL$177,4 billion is earmarked for the roads.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the ongoing rehabilitation of the road is critical for economic growth in the region.
“We are seeing that there is tremendous progress in terms of infrastructure development. Our road networks are being attended to and the rehabilitation of the 10km stretch along the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road is commendable since it is a strategic road which is tied to the economic development of the region,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road is not the only road that is being rehabilitated in Matabeleland North.
He said Fighting Road that links Lupane, Nkayi and Kwekwe is also being worked on.
“The road will see motorists reducing by 300km the distance that is travelled between Victoria Falls and Harare. We really appreciate the work that the Second Republic is doing to attend to our roads,” said Minister Moyo.
“For years, members of the public have been calling for these roads to be attended to. Another road that we are looking forward to its completion is the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road.”
In an interview recently, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said urgent attention is needed to rehabilitate some of the major roads in Matabeleland region.
Minister Mhona said Government is in the process of finalising due processes to ensure that at least 15 kilometres of the most critical stretch of the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is attended to in the coming weeks.
He said the state of the economic performance in some parts of the country is co-related to economic performance.
“It is sad that over the years, roads such as Nkayi and Tsholotsho Roads were neglected. And to show that we have not forgotten about them, even during the pre-budget seminar, the Minister of Finance (Prof Mthuli Ncube) actually had to single out the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, to say that road has to be done.
As we speak, we are done with the procurement processes, and in very few weeks, you will see my team moving on site to proceed with the works,” said Minister Mhona.
He said Public Private Partnerships are being explored in the rehabilitation of some of the roads.
Minister Mhona said some of the roads include the Bulawayo-Kezi and Gwanda- Maphisa roads.
He said improved road networks is key for the country to achieve Vision 2030 as pronounced by President Mnangagwa
“If you see such roads, know that we are coming and we therefore call for patience and please tolerate us as we have other competing projects that need the same resources. But I do concur that such roads have to be rehabilitated,” said Minister Mhona.