The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has been commended for processing the Old Gwanda Road construction project papers in record time with the investor optimistic of receiving the green light to commence work before year-end.
The Government early this year welcomed the proposal by Zwane Enterprise to rehabilitate the 120km Old Gwanda Road at a cost of US$150 million under a build, operate and transfer model. It further gave the company the go ahead to conduct preliminary works where engineers and surveyors conducted the feasibility study on the ground which process was completed in September.
After completing the feasibility study, Zwane Enterprise handed over the report to the Government to facilitate the granting of concession agreements as well as licences to pave way for the commencement of the project.
Giving an update to various stakeholders at a meeting held in Bulawayo yesterday, Zwane Enterprises chief executive officer Engineer Bekithemba Mbambo said he was happy with the speed with which the Government processed their papers after his company submitted the outcomes of their feasibility study.
“The last time we met here I was giving an update that we had sent our report to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. We did that at the end of August and they responded. The ministry gave eight comments which we responded to and on 10 November they responded that they saw and accepted our responses.
“The next stage will be sending our final document to Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida), who will then advise on the concession agreements. What we understand is that our project has been successful. What I want to highlight is that even if you go to Europe or any other part of the world, you would really want to appreciate Government for that. We feared that we could lose our investor but all is on course,” said Eng Mbambo.
He said as a company they were gearing towards implementation and would do the project in phases.
“We are going to implement the project in two phases as advised by the Government. The first phase under the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) will be the construction of the road itself, a phase we call the road proper. The second phase will be out of the BOT and this will be the furnishing of the road. We will be building infrastructure like service stations, truck stops to mention but a few which is what we call the road furniture. We are splitting the funds between the two phases but we will implement both of them at the same time. We have already started to consolidate our implementation teams. We will meet those in the Road Proper phase tomorrow (today) and those on the road furniture on Monday,” said Eng Mbambo.
He, however, called on various stakeholders and authorities to raise awareness on vandalism as they want to put a green corridor with fibre optics, unique projects, new industry that supports the traffic like food courts, among other facets.
The Deputy Minister of Defence who is also the Member of Parliament for Umzingwane Constituency who played a pivotal role in bringing up the project Brigadier-General (Rtd) Levi Mayihlome commended various stakeholders for showing their commitment towards the project. He also encouraged them to ensure they harness the opportunities that would come with it.
“I am happy to see all stakeholders eager to see the project going through, it is one project that I wish to see being completed before I die. During my first term in Parliament, I questioned the ministers why people from this region were not being given tenders. I was then asked who have presented themselves for tender but I failed to respond. However, Engineer Mbambo heeded the clarion call and we helped each other bring up this project. It shall need various sub-contractors and as a people we should be able to stand and occupy the space. No one will build our own country for us, let us not just wait for Government but know that we are the Government and we have the obligation to build our own country,” said Brig-Gen (Rtd) Mayihlome. — @nyeve14