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6 contractors for Lake Gwayi- Shangani pipeline

by Staff reporter
09 Nov 2021 at 05:35hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has selected six contractors to urgently work on the 245km pipeline that connects the massive Lake Gwayi-Shangani in Matabeleland North Province to Bulawayo and insists that implementation timelimes for both the pipeline and dam projects will be met as planned.

The 650 million cubic metres water body is being constructed in Hwange District and is expected to be complete next month, with the pipeline project deadline set for December 2022.

Having been a pipe dream since 1912, the project is one of the many infrastructural development priorities being aggressively spearheaded by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, whose completion is viewed as a transformative milestone for the whole of Matabeleland region.

Apart from bringing a lasting solution to Bulawayo's perennial water woes, the project is expected to create an irrigation greenbelt, which will enhance food production and security and buttress the global climate-proofing, adaptation and mitigation efforts.

In an update delivered in Parliament about progress in the project, Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister, Clemence Chiduwa, said the Government was sticking to the set deadlines in line with President Mnangagwa's directive.

"We were assigned by His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) and he said ‘by December 2021, I would want to see Gwayi-Shangani Dam completed'. This is a project that we have worked on and by December, Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be completed.

"Already, we have selected six contractors who are already dealing with the pipeline as we complete the dam. This is a project that we started hearing about when we were still children.

"He (President) also directed us that by December, 2022, he would want to open a tap with water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which is part of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.

"So, by December, 2022 in terms of the resource allocation, His Excellency should commission the completion of the whole project and opening water in Bulawayo next year. So, this is where we are and in terms of the implementation," said Chiduwa. He could, however, not disclose the names of contracted companies.

In order to quicken the pace of implementation, the Deputy Minister said the dam and pipeline projects were being run concurrently, adding that the bigger picture was to see these projects impacting positively on the wider economy.

"So, this is running concurrently but the end is not in water. The end is in economic activities along the pipeline," he said.

"Already the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural development is working on the plans to ensure that. For us it is about what we are going to use the water for and not just the water.

"We have an integrated system where as we do these activities, completion of the dam and pipeline, we are also working on the grand plan of the activities that are going to take place along the pipeline. This is where we are."

Government has already commenced work on an integrated master plan for the greenbelt economy and Treasury continues to pump funding to speed up construction processes. About $535 million has since been allocated towards the commencement of the pipeline construction phase.

According to earlier official reports, the integrated master plan seeks to unlock wider economic activities such as tourism, agriculture value chain, infrastructure development, health and wellbeing, food processing and exports.

"We have already checked the activities where we are now and we will be done with the Gwayi-Shangani Dam. We are saying by November/December next year, we will also be done with the pipeline," said Chiduwa.

"On these issues, it is very critical that Parliament will continue to play its oversight role. We are very happy that you monitor us in terms of what we say here in Parliament and given the implementation that is on the ground, I can assure you that what we are saying here is what we will deliver."

Different stakeholders including farmers and legislators have hailed the progress being registered in the project and concur that it will unlock wider opportunity and transform ordinary people's lives.

During discussion Umzingwane legislator, Levy Mayihlome, pointed out the need to ensure inclusive involvement and benefit to all communities from Government projects.

He said fostering inclusive development was in line with President Mnangagwa's drive to ensure that "no place should be left behind and no one should be left behind" in terms of development.

Chiduwa said similar water infrastructure projects were being pursued in Matabeleland South with the view of also ‘greening' the province.

"There is Zhovhe Dam, we already have plans and we start rolling out that plan from next year – the pipeline from Zhovhe Dam up to Beitbridge," he said.

"Along the pipeline, we are saying; as we take the pipeline and take water from Zhovhe Dam up to Beitbridge, there should be agricultural activities and there is that plan to ensure that we are going to create a greenbelt.

"We have also made a presentation here regarding the construction of Thuli-Manyange Dam. We classified it as an emotional project, a project that is supposed to get priority funding."

Source - The Chronicle