MPs pile pressure on govt to fix Mat’land roads

The calls to fix roads in the region have grown louder amid concerns that some of them were established before the country’s independence more than 40 years ago and have never been attended to.

LEGISLATORS from Matabeleland have called on the government to fix roads in the region saying that the development will rescue the people from perpetual marginalisation.

The calls to fix roads in the region have grown louder amid concerns that some of them were established before the country’s independence more than 40 years ago and have never been attended to.

The MPs from the region made the calls during parliamentary debate where they demanded to know from Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Mhona what was holding up the rehabilitation of the roads in Matabeleland.

Insiza South legislator Spare Sithole noted the slow progress in the completion of the Filabusi-Silalatshane Avoca and West-Nicholson-Mberengwa roads.

“Do you realise how many years Insiza-Filabusi-Silalatshane to Avoca roads took to refurbish? How many years? It is now 16 years and they only tarred 10km. In other districts, the 10km that were allocated have already been finished,” Sithole said.

“I will put it through to you, minister, that even now when I tell the people in Insiza South constituency that the minister will tar this road, they say that this region is being marginalised because there are two roads which have been left in Insiza South for so many years.”

He said he had unsuccessfully tried to engage Mhona since last year so that he looks at the affected roads.

“With your indulgence, when the minister is coming to my constituency, we can go together and show him the state of those roads,” Sithole said.

Pelandaba Tshabalala MP Joseph Tshuma demanded that Mhona indicates the time frames for the road rehabilitation programme.

“What are your timelines in carrying out work on these roads? I am speaking specifically for the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo to Beitbridge Road. 

“I am speaking about the Nkayi Road, the Kezi Road and Tsholotsho Road, roads that we know have been under construction since 1980, and this is 44 years later now. 

“What are your timelines of coming to be physically on the ground on those roads and be seen doing something so that we dispel that notion of being marginalised?”

However, Transport and Infrastructural Development deputy minister Joshua Sacco said the government was committed to completing the projects.

“Our ministry has already shown dedication to work on the said roads with 5km being completed in 2023 under ERRP 2. Along the West-Nicholson-Mberengwa stretch which is where we decided to start the works. We had another contractor approaching from the Mberengwa site as well as in the Midlands province,” he said.

Sacco said second phase of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme had been extended to the end of December 2026 and that once funds have been availed those outstanding projects would be completed.

He also revealed that he would be carrying out nationwide tours looking at sensitive roads across the country.

“So far, we have done Chipinge, Mt Selinda. We have been to Mukumbura and I think we have done Victoria Falls-Bulawayo and I think Matabeleland South is coming soon in my diary,” Sacco said.

“I think we all agree that a lot of work is happening currently in the country around road construction and we just ask you to bear with us but we will definitely come and fix these roads.

“I think it is up to us to make sure that we remove the feeling that certain areas are being discriminated against and that is part of our job to make sure that all corners of Zimbabwe are covered.”

Sacco also told Parliament that a contractor was on site along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road engaging in periodic maintenance to fill potholes to make the road trafficable.

“We are looking at working on the road from Beitbridge to Bulawayo, from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls. My response is we have a programme on which we are working hand-in-glove with Zimbabwe National Road Authority so that we can get diesel which we will allocate to rural district councils at national level. 

“With time, as the Transport ministry, we have a programme whereby we want to do the mechanisation of rural district councils so that they can have equipment which will help us to repair the roads,” he said.

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