The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
Only 25 percent of local authorities have submitted detailed reports about how they used funds disbursed by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara), a development that is slowing down Government’s push to construct and rehabilitate the country’s road network, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said last week.
Addressing local authorities and engineers in Matabeleland South during a tour of roads in Matabeleland provinces last week, Minister Matiza hauled the local authorities over coals for failing to submit acquittals – the detailed spending reports – on time.
“My profession is about seeing things built and built in time; not only just built, but finished. So that is the way I look (at things). My world outlook is like that.
“So when I come to any project, I have all those questions and then I am trying to see where this project stands, why is it not happening, why is it not finishing, why is the contractor not on site?” he said.
“People complain (that) the contractor has stopped work, they do not know all these processes . . . I have got a list of local authorities who have not acquitted: 25 percent have sent their project proposals.
“That is bad, that shows that we are not moving with the spirit that the Government is moving. The funds are there.”
During his tour, Minister Matiza assessed progress on the 14-kilometre Guyu-Manama Road (Matabeleland South), as well as the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road in Matabeleland North.
Mat South provincial roads engineer Joseph Makokove said there was urgent need to spruce up roads in the province as the existing infrastructure had outlived its set lifespan.
“The province has a total rod network of 2 288km (which fall under the Department of Roads), of these kilometres 988,7km are surfaced roads, while unsurfaced (gravel and earth) comprise of 1 299,7km,” he said.
“Surfaced roads in the province have outlived their lifespan, resulting in numerous potholes, edge-drops and edge-breaks,” said Eng Makokove.
“Government has so far availed $29,5million to cater for our 2019 projects.
“Our projects include Bulawayo-Kezi-Legion (upgrading), with an allocation of $3million; construction and low-cost surfacing of Maphisa-Gwanda Road, with an allocation of $6million; Gwanda-Guyu-Manama-Tuli, with an allocation of $2,5million; Mphoengs-Maphisa ($3,5 million); Plumtree-Maitengwe, with an allocation of $5million; Plumtree-Tsholotsho, using an allocation of $3,5 million; and West Nicholson-Mberengwa, also with an allocation of $6million,” he said.
Further, Zinara has provided $6,1 million for routine maintenance.
Similarly, Matabelaland North province road Engineer Stephen Kamutema said Government had shown commitment to provide funding on time.
“Matabelaland North has a total road network of 2 950 kilometres (State roads), 1 405 are surfaced roads, gravel roads constitute 1 278 km and the remainder 265 kilometres are earth roads.
“This year, we are targerting 53,5 kilometres of new blacktop construction at cost of $32 million,” he said.
Government has already provided funding for the construction of Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, which involves construction of a 6,1-km high-level sealed road at a cost of $7,1million.
A 12-km stretch along Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road has been allocated $6 million, while construction of a 15km low-cost seal on the Lupane-Nkayi will gobble $8 million.
There will be low-cost surfacing on 2,5km of the Binga-Sengwe Road for $2,5million.
In addition, $4million has been reserved for rehabilitation works on a section of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road, just before Gwayi River Bridge.