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Govt takes over radio and TV transmitters installation

by Staff reporter
21 May 2018 at 07:07hrs | Views
Government has taken over the installation of radio and television transmitters in Chikombedzi after a Chinese firm contracted to do the work abandoned project over cost variations. Local engineers are now expected to complete the Chikombedzi project and similar ones in other parts of the country where there were cost variations because of unexpected complexities in the area's geomorphology.

In an interview with The Herald during a tour to assess the Chikombedzi transmission site last week, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba said Government was concerned by lack of local radio and television access by communities in Chiredzi South, 38 years after independence.

Mr Charamba said Zimbabwean engineers had now mastered the knowledge to install transmitters as a result of years of working with international experts.

"Construction work stopped for about two years after we began working on this project and the basic issue we had was the underestimation of the costs linked to this particular site," said Mr Charamba.

"If you look at this particular site, it deceptively gives you an idea that it is all sandy soil yet in fact, beneath this apparent flatness there is very strong igneous rock. We really did not anticipate that this is what lies beneath this geomorphological site which is why both the contractor and ourselves underestimated what it would take to prepare this site."

He said the resultant under-costing of the project led the contractor to pull out before the work was complete.
"As they dug deeper, it became apparent to us that there was a clear underestimation of the costing structure. This is what we have been haggling over. We then took a decision that we do not need to continue being detained since we had a significant skills transfer from the contractor to our own engineers which means we are now in a position to take over the operations here at Chikombedzi and compensate the contractor for the works they have done to date," said Mr Charamba.

Government's goal, added Mr Charamba, was to address the existing gaps where villagers from southern Chiredzi have been failing to access local radio and television signals.

"It is our quest to ensure that our people are provided with basic services. As you are aware in terms of the United Nations standards, information is a human right and we actually work with principle of universal access to information."

"When we look at the Chikombedzi area, which is really one of the areas along our country's border, we realise that this area has not, since independence, been serviced by way of radio and by way of television.

"This is the first ever time we are beginning to have infrastructure laid in anticipation of service which means the people of Chikombedzi are for the first time going to truly feel their part of the country from the point of view of services. For me, it is important in terms of our ability to take services where the people stay," he said.

Mr Charamba said the new development will create opportunities for locals to showcase their skills and challenged local engineering companies to manufacture the required special bolts that were slowing down commencement of the programme.
"The key thing is that we must get this project going rather than continue to look at these big empty pits," he said.

"It's humiliating for a country like Zimbabwe to import a bolt from China. Is that the level of underdevelopment? But you would discover it is, because we had not yet done such big projects and once we give local companies such a challenge, they will start upgrading their technology hence, capacitating the country."

The Chikombedzi transmitters will cover a 60km radius and this will arrest the problem of signals which was forcing communities in the district to rely on signals from Mozambique and South Africa.



Source - the herald

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