By Staff Reporter
TRANSPORT Minister Biggie Matiza, last week described roads in the Midlands area of Gokwe as an “eyesore” admitting government failed the country’s biggest cotton producing region.
Speaking during a roads tour in Midlands, Thursday, Matiza said government needed fresh thinking to arrest the situation.
“Gokwe is an eyesore. The road network if deplorable and the situation is exacerbated by storms in the area which destroy the road infrastructure in the area.
“We need to come up with innovative ways of addressing the challenge. Gokwe needs to be developed as the place is a major cotton producer. We don’t want a situation where companies in the area have to struggle to get their products to the market. We need to be sensitive when it comes to our economic areas,” Matiza said.
The Cabinet Minister said the country and business could benefit from better road infrastructure. Zimbabwe’s road network has become a death trap and hindrance to economic activity after years of neglect by successive Zanu PF governments initially under former President Robert Mugabe and now President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa has however promised to kick-start nationwide infrastructural rehabilitation targeting roads to position Zimbabwe as a regional economic hub but little has come of the talk.
With the country groaning under the weight of intermittent fuel shortages, Matiza called on authorities to prioritise allocation in order to allow rehabilitation projects to continue.
“We need to resource ourselves, Yes, the money is not enough, but its not a one day-event. We want the Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED) to be equipped so that it can be a major supplier of equipment to road authorities and also to the department of roads. That is work in progress.
“The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) it is also very central for the activities of road rehabilitation and building new roads. CMED will now be central to delivery of fuel to all provinces roads are being built through CMED,” Matiza said.