Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
THE Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Joel Biggie Matiza has said Government is working to transform the country’s road network to worldclass standards in a bid to achieve the President’s vision of making the country an upper middle income economy by 2030.
Government has this year allocated $29,5 million through Treasury and $6,1 million through the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) towards road maintenance works in Matabeleland South Province.
Speaking during a meeting with roads authorities from Matabeleland South Province in Gwanda yesterday, the Minister said he was conducting a nationwide tour to see how best to improve the country’s road network and other infrastructure.
Minister Matiza said his Ministry was also working on strategies to improve the rail system.
He urged road authorities to account for disbursed funds on time in order to continue accessing more funds. He said road authorities were also supposed to employ experts in their engineering departments to ensure quality work.
Minister Matiza said it has come to his attention that some in the past local authorities were diverting funds for road rehabilitation and construction towards purchasing vehicles.
In his presentation on the state of roads in the province, Provincial Roads Engineer, Joseph Makokove said the province has been allocated $29,5 million by Government under the Road Development Programme for road works and $6,1 million from Zinara.
Eng Makokove said the province has a road network of 2 288,4 kilometres and most roads were in a deplorable state as they had outlived their life span. He said surfaced roads within the province had potholes, edge drops and edge breaks. He said unsurfaced roads were not trafficable due to wash-aways and corrugations. Eng Makokove also said most of the areas in the province are inaccessible during the rainy season due to inadequate or damaged structures such as bridges and roads.
Also speaking during the same meeting, Zinara chairman Engineer Michael Madanha said they expect funds that were allocated to road authorities to be put to proper use. He said they expected works that were durable and of high quality.
He said they were facing challenges as some road users were evading paying road user fees and some tollgates were recently vandalised.
Eng Madanha said as a road authority they were going to revise all payment systems in order increase the revenue they collected.
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister, Cde Abednico Ncube, applauded Government for its continued efforts to develop the province. He said upgrading of roads will increase economic activity in the province and attract investors.
Minister Matiza also visited the Guyu- Manama Road, Gwanda-Maphisa Road and Esigodini Tollgate projects which are underway in the province. — @DubeMatutu