TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu has started cracking the whip ordering the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to complete “as soon as possible” the upgrading of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo which started a decade ago.
BY DUMISANI SIBANDA,ASSIGNMENTS EDITOR
Opening an induction workshop for heads of departments under his ministry in Harare yesterday, Mpofu said all boards of parastatals will now have a director to “articulate the ministry’s policy direction and enable effective and timeous feedback”.
The parastatals include Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Road Motor Services, Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara), CAAZ, National Handling Services and Central Mechanical Engineering Department.
“I do not know what is stopping the opening of the upgraded facility at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport,” Mpofu said.
“This is a facility named after a great person and we should not gamble with his name. When I am travelling by plane to Bulawayo, especially now as Transport minister, people ask me about the airport and I keep on saying I am new in the ministry, but I cannot continue saying I am new. We can’t have travellers disembarking at the airport using that hangar or is it a prison? It does not paint a good image of Zimbabwe. I hear that the project is expected to be complete before the end of the year, but I do not have that patience. It should be done as soon as possible. I have pressure from my principals and the people.”
Mpofu also said there was need to speed up work on the Harare International Airport runway project and “upgrades of the other smaller, but equally strategic airports like Buffalo Range, Kariba and Hwange”.
The Harare project — which will see the construction of a five kilometre-long runway to accommodate the world’s largest airbus — is expected to be complete by December this year.
“If you collect money for a week at a tollgate it will be enough to develop the tollgate,” he said.
“We will be talking to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority about that. I don’t think you need a Cabinet decision to develop a good tollgate.
“The nation has got high expectations from this ministry as transport and infrastructure issues are critical and key economic drivers necessary for increasing trade internally and regional respectively. We have no option, but to deliver. If we do not play our role well as enablers, we can easily become the missing link in the national transformation equation and that is not desirable.”