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Road rehab ignites hope in Manama

by Staff reporter
05 Jul 2022 at 07:04hrs | Views
FOR villagers in Manama, the rehabilitation of the Guyu-Manama Road in Gwanda District is the beginning of endless possibilities.

With a good road network, villagers believe more investors will be attracted to the area and consequently spur development.

It also means ease of access to Manama Mission Hospital, which services the population of Gwanda South and Beitbridge West and acts as a referral hospital for other parts of Beitbridge District, Maphisa, Kezi, parts of Mberengwa and Botswana.

Villagers say the rehabilitation of the Guyu-Manama Road will also improve the transport situation in the area as more buses will be able to reach them, contributing to reduction in transport costs.

It would be even better if the rehabilitation of the road went beyond Thuli Bridge and reached Mlambaphele Border post, they say.

That way, villagers would not have to travel to Plumtree in order to cross the border into Botswana.

In separate interviews in Manama yesterday, villagers said they were happy that the road was finally being surfaced.

"We no longer had hope that this road would ever be fixed. We had been receiving promises for years that the road would be fixed but there would never be significant progress. We're very happy and it seems the contractors want to quickly conclude the project. They've already reached Thuli Bridge as we speak," said one of the villagers, Mr Japhet Ndlovu.

A 4,3km stretch from Manama Shopping Centre to Thuli Bridge is being graded and will be surfaced.

Another villager, Ms Rokelitswe Dube said the rehabilitation of the road would make it easier for people to reach Manama Mission Hospital.

"Now that the road is being fixed, people will now be able to travel with ease to the hospital. We have not had it easy and for a long time promises of the road being fixed were made with nothing happening until now," said Ms Dube.

"We're very happy about the development and believe this is the start of other bigger projects in our area," she added.

Under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, the Government is scaling up rehabilitation of major roads across the country as a key enabler to business viability and investment attraction.

Developing sound road infrastructure is one of the critical enablers towards achieving set targets under the National Development Strategy (NDS1), the Government's five-year economic master plan, which spans from 2021 through to 2025.

"We would have loved for the road to go as far as the Mlambaphele Border Post so that it's easier for us to cross into Botswana. Having good roads attracts investors. If you notice, Manama Shopping Centre has developed a lot. There are now commercial and residential stands. People are attracted by this road that's being developed. There's hope that this area will be an industrious one and it'll be easy to access," said another villager Ms Nomqhele Sibanda.

She said the cost of goods was high because business owners took into consideration the damage the road would cause to their cars when determining pricing.

"Now that the dust road will be a thing of the past, we hope to see an improvement in pricing and general cost of living," said Ms Sibanda.

The Guyu-Manama Road is being rehabilitated under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2).

The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has distributed nearly $6 billion to all provinces and local authorities for road maintenance in the first quarter of this year under the ERRP2.

In February this year, Zinara set aside $17 billion for the ERRP, which is in line with the ethos of the NDS1 whose main aspirations include infrastructural development as a key enabler to attaining Vision 2030 aimed at transforming the country into an upper middle-income economy.

Zinara does not do road work itself, but is the collection authority for the two sources of revenue that must be spent on roads, vehicle licence fees and toll fees.

Matabeleland South provincial roads engineer Mangisi Nkomo said a 4,3km stretch from Manama Shopping Centre to Thuli Bridge would be surfaced in the first phase of the project.

"The project is progressing well and construction workers have already graded the road in preparation for surfacing. It'll be an initial 4,3km stretch from the shops at Manama to Thuli bridge," said Eng Nkomo.

He said other major road works in the province include the rehabilitation of the Bulawayo-Kezi Road.

"Last week we handed over the site to Drawcard Construction for the construction of 15km of the Bulawayo-Kezi Road. It's a design and construct project so we've handed over the site to the contractor. The road will be rehabilitated from the 45km peg to the 60km peg where there is a narrow stretch," said Eng Nkomo.

He continued: "We'll also be rehabilitating the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road but that one is currently at the tender stage. Rehabilitation will be from the 266km peg to the 276km peg. Five kilometres of the West Nicholson-Mberengwa Road will also be surfaced. The road goes from West Nicholson to Avoca, Filabusi."

He said about four kilometres of the Gwanda-Maphisa Road had already been surfaced.

"The rehabilitation of the Gwanda-Maphisa Road will be done in phases starting with a 10km stretch. We gave the tender to a contractor and they've so far surfaced at least four kilometres from that road. Due to budgetary constraints, we can't rehabilitate the entire road at once.

"We've got 10 provinces, and within the province there are other projects that we want to do so we'll be doing at least 10km of each road at certain intervals," said Eng Nkomo.

Source - The Chronicle