CONSTRUCTION of Masvingo province’s giant Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam has been temporarily suspended due to lack of funds.
A representative from Salini Impregilo, an Italian company contracted to build the dam on behalf of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), Stephen Muza, confirmed the development yesterday, but refused to give more details, referring all questions to the Environment ministry.
“There has been an agreement with workers that they temporarily go back to their homes and they would be recalled when funds are available,” Muza said.
It is understood that over 300 workers at the dam site had already been sent home.
Zinwa chief executive officer Albert Muyambo and the authority’s spokesperson Majory Munyonga were also unreachable.
The 1,8 billion cubic metre dam project has had several false starts since it was launched in 1998 mainly due to shortage of money.
The dam was scheduled to be complete by last November, but poor funding and delays by government in evacuating villagers who were staying in the flood basin caused the project to miss its timelines.
Two years ago, Muza told NewsDay that $5 million was needed every month to finish the construction of the dam.
He said any stoppage would mean the construction of the dam would be started all over, nullifying all previous efforts.
Government is currently broke and struggling to meet most of its financial obligations, including workers’salaries.
On completion, Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is expected to become Zimbabwe’s largest inland water body spreading over 9 600 hectares of flood area.