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Boterekwa road dualisation in limbo

by Staff reporter
29 Mar 2022 at 10:38hrs | Views
THE planned US$7million Boterekwa escarpment road dualisation is in limbo after the contractor, Transit Homes Contractors, allegedly failed to come up with a design for the project.

The Boterekwa escarpment – an international passage for trade and tourism in Shurugwi – was set for a major facelift in June last year when the Government approved the project.

However, 10 months after the proposed dualisation, only signage from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development indicating the name of the project – Boterekwa Road Dualisation – remain on site.

The contractor has been accused of extracting gold ore from the site. The dualisation of the eight-kilometre descent on the narrow and meandering pass aptly called Boterekwa (a meandering place) or the Wolfshall Pass was expected to start in June and was going to bring relief to motorists.

Built decades ago by Italian craftsmen, the breath-taking road link has stood the test of time, but it is now in a bad state resulting in drivers struggling to manoeuvre safely and contributing to road carnage.

In March last year two people, a bus driver and a student, were injured when the bus that was ferrying Pakame High School students rammed into a haulage truck at the escarpment.

Despite several accidents, most of which have been attributed to human error, it has provided passage to cargo trucks, buses and small cars which use the highway from Beitbridge Border Post to Chirundu, the gateway to Zambia the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania through Gweru from South Africa and much of Africa's interior.

In an interview, Midlands Provincial Roads Engineer Denis Mupfurira said the initial contractor failed to come up with a design

"The initial contractor failed to come up with an acceptable design. The contract is now under contract determination. We have sent recommendations to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development so that a well- resourced contractor can be procured," he said.

Engineer Mupfurira, however, said he was not aware of gold ore being removed from the site by the failed contractor. He said the dualisation of the road meant that the traffic going towards Shurugwi will use the old tarmac, which is going to be rehabilitated as well.

"The traffic going to Zvishavane will use a new road that will be constructed. The project was expected to cost around US$7million," he said.

Contacted for comment, Mr Tendai Matimba, managing director Transit Homes Contractors said:
"Things are not well, things are not alright." Pressed for comment as to why they have not started the dualisation works Mr Matimba failed to shed any light.

Last year, the Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima raised a red flag accusing the contractor of lacking machinery to undertake the project.

"They don't have equipment. Trucks have been seen there collecting gold ore it seems, and I am not happy at all," said Minister Mavima.

He called on the anti-corruption agencies like Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (Zacc) to probe how a company which allegedly doesn't have equipment ended up getting the multimillion dollar tender.

"I believe there is a scandal there. I don't know who these guys know which made them get the tender ahead of potential companies.

I have heard that they have hired equipment from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, which is suspicious.

If the Ministry has the equipment, why then was this job given to these guys. The Ministry should have done it themselves. So I smell a rat and anti-corruption agencies must quickly move in so that we are not affected by this development," said Minister Mavima.

Source - The Chronicle
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