Minister calls for Beitbridge- Victoria Falls route rehab Zimbabwe National Road Administration chief executive Mr Nkosinathi Ncube gives an overview of their operations to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development during a tour of Esigodini Tollgate on Friday

Nqobile Bhebhe, [email protected]

THE Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo, Judith Ncube has implored the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) in its future projects to consider the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route as it is critical in boosting domestic tourism and local economies.

Minister Ncube said the province, with its illustrious economic and industrial history, vibrant culture and resilient people, was once the epicentre of the country’s manufacturing sector.

She said that given the city’s strategic location as a gateway between the southern part of the continent and the rest of the country and beyond, infrastructural development remains pivotal to the city’s local economy.

Good roads are seen as economic enablers, which should help Zimbabwe’s drive towards attainment of Vision 2030 of an empowered upper-middle income economy.

Under the Infrastructure, Utilities and Digital Economy cluster, Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) prioritises the completion of road rehabilitation projects.

The Beitbridge-Bulawayo Victoria Falls Highway is a strategic trade route on the regional north-to-south corridor, linking Zimbabwe with South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia as well as the DRC.

Bitumen World was contracted to repair the more than 800km road, which had over the years deteriorated to appalling levels resulting in a number of fatal accidents.

Government declared the state of road infrastructure in the country a state of emergency following heavy and destructive rains in the last two years.

Addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development and Zinara officials in Bulawayo on Saturday, Minister Ncube appealed for consideration for the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route.

“I take this opportunity to humbly request favourable consideration for our province in future projects, particularly critical roads like the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route. Enhancing this road will not only boost domestic tourism but also enhance road safety, support local economies and promote cultural exchanges along the way,” said Minister Ncube.

In an interview on Friday at Esigodini tollgate on the sidelines of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development tour, Zinara chief executive officer, Mr Nkosinathi Ncube said the parastatal is in the process of upgrading top six priority toll gates to plaza status in a bid to boost revenue collection and enhance the safety of motorists and staff.

He said it is critical to upgrade existing tollgates on major highways to ensure they can cope rapidly and easily with the growing volumes of traffic.

The earmarked tollgates are in high traffic routes including the Esigodini tollgate along the Bulawayo- Beitbridge road.

Mr Ncube noted that the potential traffic volumes, revenue collection and security at tollgates are the major considerations for an upgrade.

 “According to the plans we are implementing, there is a need to upgrade toll gates. We are not just upgrading toll gates to make them appear flashy but for several purposes chief among being the issues of revenue collection and making sure we have no revenue leakages,” said Mr Ncube.

Minister Judith Ncube

“We are also looking at the issue of security and safety for both motorists and our staff is of paramount importance in line with the new road. We are not splashing resources but we are going to start with those tollgates that give us higher revenue.

“We are also upgrading tollgates around Harare, the one leading to Masvingo, currently called Skyline. Esigodini tollgate will also be upgraded and coming out of Gweru we have the Flamingo tollgate which is another busy one.”

Mr Ncube said 88 percent of the money collected at toll gates goes directly to road maintenance and local authorities.

The Parliamentary committee was on a tour aimed at giving the legislators an in-depth understanding of Zinara’s operations and had a brief stopover at Esigodini tollgate.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development Chairperson Knowledge Kaitano said the tour was to broaden the legislators’ knowledge of Zinara operations.

“We want to appreciate the existing tollgates and understand the challenges that come as a result of size of the tollgates with the view of upgrading them to either toll plazas but more to upgrade them to a certain level where we are sure that all traffic will be able to pass through and ensure the safety of workers.

“We want to make our tollgates efficient to increase revenue collection and ensure that our road infrastructure is developed at a faster rate for the benefit of the country.”

According to Zinara, toll fees collections are gobbling about 18-30 percent of the total revenue, a somewhat high figure, hence efforts to introduce the e-tolling facility.


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