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Villagers partner Government to rehabilitate neglected road

by Staff reporter
14 Feb 2023 at 05:21hrs | Views
THE Godlwayo community in Insiza South, Matabeleland South Province has partnered with the Government in a bid to rehabilitate the West Nicholson-Mberengwa Road linking Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces.

So far, a five kilometre stretch of the 42 kilometre road which is one of the five major roads being rehabilitated by the government in Matabeleland South has been tarred.

Motorists had resorted to longer routes due to the ungraded road which has been in a sorry state for the past seven years.

The Godlwayo community members congregated to contribute to the on-going project through a WhatsApp group which saw different bona fide members of the district both local and non-local voluntarily contributing R200 each.

The non-partisan and apolitical organisation which started the noble initiative four weeks ago is spearheaded by villagers from Vokola, Ward 7.

The purely developmental organisation has contributed fuel worth R30 000 while the government has offered road construction equipment towards the project.

In an interview, West-Nicholson-Mberengwa Road Maintenance Project's spokesperson, Mr Mthandazo Matshilo Dube, said the road is a lifeline as they use it when travelling to Gwanda, the provincial town, adding that it also connects them to Beitbridge Road, simultaneously linking them with Midlands Province.

"Our organisation is busy sourcing funds from local villagers, business persons and diasporians. As community members, we have a fuel budget of R92 000 but so far we have raised R30 000. The government through the District Development Fund (DDF) and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development has so far provided a grader and the initial grading has been done.

"We recently had a high power delegation with the District's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), DDF and the Ministry of Transport representatives in the CEO's office in Filabusi. Next Monday, the engineers, DA, and road superintendents will come on the ground to assess the road and identify areas that need more attention," added Mr Dube.

He appealed for more financial assistance from people from all walks of life adding that the road is accessed by everyone.
Mr Dube said the road rehabilitation process will be done in phases so as to make the road more durable.

"The road was last graded seven years ago and as a result, it was in a state of disrepair such that although the grader is an excellent one, there are certain areas where it is finding it difficult to really smoothen the road because there are deep potholes, small streams and so forth so it is really tough to smoothen the road at once. However, we are glad that the engineers and road superintendents really understand the situation.

"The first phase has already been done, which is grading. The second phase will be bush clearance and also filling deep potholes with gravel, doing culverts, and spot dumping. The grader will also be needed to level the road. Road inspection will determine cost, looking at critical areas," he said.

In a separate interview, West-Nicholson-Mberengwa Road Maintenance Project's chairperson, Mr Nation Mhlophe, hailed the move by both the government and villagers adding that the initial grading of the road has captivated other motorists to use the road.

"Soon after the first grading, we witnessed something that we last saw seven years ago, buses from Beitbridge started using the route to Zvishavane. This is an indication that as soon as the rehabilitation is completed, we are going to see more motorists using the road. The government promised to give us a Tractor Loader Backhoe, Front Loader and another Grader," Mr Mhlophe said.

Insiza chief executive officer Mr Shepherd Tshuma, hailed the villagers for assisting the government in funding the repair of the road.

He said the move by the villagers was in line with the President's philosophy which says, "ilizwe lakhiwa ngabaninilo".

The CEO underscored the importance of thinking ahead so as to provide a sustainable solution to the problem hence the need to tar the road.

"What is important in the long run is that, that road must be tarred up to Mberengwa. It will assist in cutting off distances a lot. Partnerships are good, whenever the government is running out of funds, villagers should be able to come in," Mr Tshuma said.

A villager from Ward 7, Mr Khumbulani Nkomo, said he is over the moon about the ongoing project.

"I am excited about this whole project. We're happy to partner with the government. I don't even know what to say. If I had money, I was going to contribute again because my R200 is not enough," Mr Nkomo said.

Those who may want to assist in the rehabilitation of the road can contact Mr Dube on 071 489 3967.

Source - The Chronicle