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NRZ urged to reintroduce commuter trains

by Staff Reporter
23 Aug 2020 at 08:51hrs | Views
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has been called upon to re-introduce commuter trains to help ease transport challenges in Bulawayo, with commuters at times being forced to walk to and from town.

According to the national lockdown regulations, Zupco registered buses and kombis are the only ones allowed to offer public transport in the urban areas. In her opening remarks at a meeting between President Mnangagwa, the Matabeleland Collective and Bulawayo City Council officials at State House in Bulawayo yesterday, Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Judith Ncube said the re-introduction of the commuter trains would go a long way in decongesting Zupco buses and kombis and help contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Regarding transport, Zupco remains the sole transporter and the Public Service Commission buses ferry Government workers. However, in order to decongest Zupco, it is our plea that NRZ resumes commuter train operations to ply Luveve – Cowdray Park and Nketa – Emganwini routes," said Ncube.

The Minister, who chairs the Covid-19 provincial response taskforce, said they continue to receive support and donations from various organisations in the fight against the spread of the pandemic. "Renovations of the Covid-19 treatment facilities at Thorngrove Hospital, Bartley Memorial Block, Ekusileni Medical Centre and Mpilo Hospital are currently in progress and at various stages of completion. Our central hospitals have designated wards for Covid-19 positive cases that require admission and discussions are underway between the Ministry of Health and Child Care and Mater Dei Hospital so that they can also admit some Covid-19 positive patients," said Minister Ncube.

She further commended Government's decision to turn Ekusileni Medical Centre into a specialist treatment hospital noting that a draft memorandum of understanding was already in place.

"It is our hope that the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) will assume the responsibility it has been tasked with in the earliest possible time so that Ekusileni Medical Centre is operationalised," she said.

Cabinet recently resolved that post-Covid-19, the hospital be transformed into a specialist teaching and research hospital run by NSSA with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) providing technical expertise. The university said that the ongoing renovation of Ekusileni Medical Centre, to make it a Covid-19 centre, was a crucial step which will propel Nust into establishing the specialist training centre. Nust Faculty of Medicine aims to ride on upgrades and renovations that would be made to the hospital during the Covid-19 era in developing the specialist teaching and research centre.

Source - Sunday News