Govt goes it alone on Chirundu-Harare-BB Highway dualisation

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GOVERNMENT has decided to go it alone and dualise the Chirundu-Harare-Beitbridge Highway while talks with Chinese Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited (Afecc) for the $2 billion tender continue, Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza said yesterday.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Matiza told NewsDay that government’s decision had been inspired by the need to not only keep jobs locally, but also the money.

“Cabinet decided that the Department of Roads immediately commences work on the road rehabilitation, while negotiations with a private partner continue. There is already $150 million raised through an Old Mutual bond that will help us kick-start works,” he said.

“Government has also decided that local construction companies with the requisite expertise will be engaged as sub-contractors. This decision means as a country struggling with foreign currency issues, we will keep the money in Zimbabwe as well as the jobs.”

Government, Matiza added, is also working at raising more funds for the road as well as others.

“We are already in the process of raising more money for the dualisation of this road and the rehabilitation of others,” the Transport minister said.

Initial estimates claimed the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway would cost a staggering $2 billion if a private partner was engaged, but this figure would come done to around $1,4 billion when the works are undertaken by government.

Afecc was stopped from mining diamonds in Manicaland by then President Robert Mugabe’s government in 2016 to allow for the consolidation of diamond operations in the area.

Afecc was jointly extracting diamonds in Chiadzwa with the military through fellow Chinese company Anjin Investments.

Matiza, however, said negotiations for a partnership with Afecc would continue until an agreement is reached.

“As regards Afecc, we will continue talking to them. As and when we reach an agreement, it means the scope of works would have been reduced. On the other hand, government is cognisant of the fact that this is a national project that our people want government to deliver,” he said.

“The rainy season is upon us and this road that has claimed so many lives is in a deplorable state. We cannot continue dithering. We cannot remain stuck in talks, while nothing happens on the ground. We must start work and start immediately.”

Reports in the past have claimed Afecc had already been awarded the tender following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to China during which he held talks with his counterpart, Xi Jinping.

The tender was initially awarded to Austrian firm Geiger International and its Chinese partner China Harbour Engineering Company (Chec) Ltd.

However, Geiger failed to raise the requiered money and the tender was cancelled amid reports the company had strong links with Mugabe and his family as well as a coterie of Cabinet ministers who had lined up to benefit from the deal.

22 COMMENTS

  1. I think this is where the cash rich NSSA needs to come in. If the authority invests as much as 2 billion on this project and recoup through toll gate charges, it would be a worthwhile investment for all stakeholders. My two cents input.

  2. Parliament that we, the real Honourable MPs(Hon. Members of the Public)voted in, must institute an urgent inquiry into this Beitbridge-Chirundu Dualisationgate. Matiza and his so-called new dispensation can’t abuse our rights to safe roads as citizens of this country, injure our dignity and insult our intelligence and hope to get away with it by giving us a Mickey Nouse popyee explanation to this scandal. So the Govt now wants the project to be localised or carried out by indigenes when that was the original position which it now seems some in govt, deliberately breached resulting in the entire Govt being taken to court by a Zimbabwean consortium that had been awarded the tender? Parliament must urgently investigate who, in that previous Govt did sabotage that original position because it may well be some clique in that Govt frustrated the process then in anticipation of awarding the tender to their Afecc cronnies when they eventually control the entire leaver system of power.Wasn’t it reported not so long ago that tender process was already complete and that some VP in charge of the Economic and Infrastructure then was sitting on the papers? So Afecc was banking on loan financing the project from our very own looted diamonds money? This is a notice to the relevant Parliamentary Portifolio Committee to move into action immediately.

  3. Ko mariyema Toll Gates irikuita basa reyi, Mitero yemota handiro basa kuti mari iyi ishande. Munongo suspender ma ZINARA officials now and again vachinzi vaba uye hamutaure kuti vaba marii, zvinoshamisa zvemunyika muno. Vehicle insurance is heavy to tell the truth and who is beneficiary on these project which is collecting more levy than the Govt. We are being robbed everyday in this evil system, third party ins was about 25 dollars per year and now 30 dollars term ye licence. Company idzi dzinofanira kuisa mari ku Project iyi ye dualisation and I wish the powers be investigate all companies which operate with govt institutions that their services are not being overcharged. Pamberi nekubvisa huori

  4. Noble idea Minister but the quality of the project need strict supervision. Hazvishamise kuti construction ikatangira Beitbridge ichiuya ku Harare, painosvika kwa Roy, ku Beitbridge inenge yatotanga kubooka, mark my words.

  5. The Department of Roads did the Airport Road didn’t they? The same Department of Roads will do the widening of and improvement of the vertical and horizontal alignment of the Zambezi escarpment of the Chirundu Road under the supervision of the Japanese engineers.
    The idea that locals will do the roadworks is not only noble but the best way to go for our country. We have local companies like Bitumen World which have the capacity and expertise to do these works.

  6. Do not be fooled by this government. The zimbabwean government does not have the capacity to fund , construct and supervise the construction of a project of this magnitude.
    How long did it take the same department of roads to construct 7 km of road from the airport to Breeside ? , 5 km from Mbudzi roundabout to skyline Toll gate ? – 12 years and the Minister expect us to believe that they can be able to dualise and deliver more than 1000 km of road in our life time ? If this is not day deaming then i do not have the right terminolgy for this childish thinking.
    Most of the qualified and experianced Civil Engineers are in the Diaspora.We have green Engineers from college without experiance. Does the Minister know this.
    The Minister must not wate our hard earned revenue on projecys that will not materialise. At least rehabilitate the existing one before thinking of dualisation.

  7. Guys lets be serious ka Beitbridge to Chirundu seriously this government`s Department of Roads do they have capacity and expertise to construct more than a thousand kilometres of road. So this means our great grand children will also work in this project ka

  8. How about engaging international companies like …. which has capacity to deliver and negotiate for a contract that would benefit Zimbabwe in terms of employment, material supply and so forth, on a BOT basis. BOTs are a way to go to broke countries like ours.

  9. Good news indeed. I would say why not delegate the talks on the financing from the Chinese or any other suitable investor to IDBZ. Government has the capacity and expertise shown in the great work that has been done on the Harare Marondera Highway….2 Billion, there again are those numbers which seem to just pop up….Why should the people of Zimbabwe pay 2 billion plus interest to build the road? What value will it create and for whom? Who should we really commit to partnering with in such an endeavor? Have our own institutions been approached? NSSA, IDBZ, Insurance Companies, other interested local parties etc etc….Our procurement should be leveraged to build new Zimbabwean companies that can compete on the global market place….Lets take charge and grow Zimbabwe creatively. “Nyika Vanhu”

  10. It already took the same govt 20 years (1998 to 2018) to construct a 10km portion of the said road (from Simon Mazorodze corner to Irvines Toll Gate)! .. and stupid as we are, we are meant to believe that this govt will reach Beitbridge in our lifetime? Lets be serious!

  11. We have the capacity and capability but we don’t have urgency and corruption corruption is too much. Build operate and transfer is the way to go. We loose nothing for 20 years we gain good roads. The Chinese give you what you pay for

  12. I doubt whether our policy makers consult citizens before taking up projects of such magnitude. The Gvt at the moment has no financial capacity to construct that road. Gomo is spot on, BOT is the way to go. The funder will be collecting a portion of toll fees over an agreed period, while we well be enjoying quality roads. The move will also ensure that contracts are awarded only to organisations with capacity to deliver, unlike the scenario where a contractor waits for payment in in order to deliver.

  13. What a wonderful opportunity for the chosen few to get even richer from the backhanders. Take Zesa’s solar energy fiasco as an example.
    This whole idea reeks of ZanuPF’s self enrichment policy.
    Half the job at twice the price.

  14. Just give the job to Group 5 and ensure as many locals participate in the subcontracts. We wan Beitbridge companies to get jobs and contracts. Each section must benefit the locals along the entire stretch of road all the way to Chirundu not a few Harare connected guys. Group 5 boosted a lot of Byo based companies and it helped keep the proceeds in the region. Zim has lost many experienced engineers. Such a highway would require so many engineers of different specialisations which we do not have. How do we deal with rotting corruption of especially from the northern regions of zimbabwe. ou have succeeded to export your corruption to SADC states whereever you get jobs.Stop it

  15. The problem is none of what everybody including the minister is saying. Ko mari yacho iripo here? Is it in bond coins; bond notes; rtgs; Ecocash; or US$? Thats the issue. Economic stability. This joke of an economy cannot build a driveway.

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