Rehabilitation of Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway overdue – Matiza

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By Staff Reporter

Mutare: Government has resolved to intensify its efforts aimed at rehabilitating the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway in a bid to tame road carnage associated with the narrow but busy road.

Addressing stakeholders during a strategic planning workshop for parastatals under his ministry in Mutare Thursday, Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said this was also aimed at improving the movement of cargo as the road links the country with major trading partner South Africa, among other regional countries.

The parastatals that took part in the workshop include National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA).

Said Minister Matiza, “I would like to commend ongoing efforts by ZINARA to facilitate rehabilitation works.

“This issue was raised by stakeholders over potential revenue loss as regional infrastructure presents a threat to movement of cargo.

“This is a crucial piece of infrastructure which was now overdue for upgrading, rehabilitation and maintenance.

“Government will increase efforts to urgently rehabilitate the road, with the aim of addressing road carnage and loss of property.”

The top government official said he was appalled by high levels of corruption in the transport sector which he said were contributing to revenue losses for government as well as impacting on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

“It is sad to note the alarming levels of corruption in the transport sector. Your presence here is not only to discuss business processes and forget about ethical dilemmas affecting government operations.

“I hope that you attach as much importance as I do to the fight against corruption and also the role of good governance in ensuring inclusive development,” said Matiza.

Department of roads director of operations, Kudzanayi Chinyanga said government is working on phased project to rehabilitate the Harare-Chirundu highway before it can embark on dualising the same road.

“Government is working on phased project to rehabilitate the Harare-Chirundu highway before we embark on the dualisation of the same road. We are targeting to complete 120 kilometers this year,” said Chinyanga.

He said despite the comparative advantage that Zimbabwe had over its regional peers, there was need to expedite road rehabilitation to attract back lost business over years.

“It’s a reality that some countries are probably creating bypasses but they are developing their countries as much as we should develop ours but our current advantage despite the bypasses we still carry an ace up our sleeves because we have the shortest route to link regional countries,” said Chinyanga.

He said under the project, they will continue issuing out 20 kilometre tenders until they finish the rehabilitation works for the 560 kilometres.

“While we may need to do more, we also need to check our resource base. Our ability is only limited to 120 kilometres a year because that is what our fiscus can afford us.

“Funds permitting, we want to complete this project within the next three years,” he said.