PROGRESS at the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) is reported to have been halted since January this year amid revelations the government has run out of funds to continue with the construction works.
This comes at a time when a lot of progress was reportedly made in the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam — the first phase of the MZWP as of late last year.
Reports show that in 2014, not much progress or construction work was made due to fund shortages. The MZWP, which has been on the cards since 1912, is one of the few projects that received some attention during the lifespan of the inclusive government.
Since the takeover of the government by Zanu PF, it appears the project is now in limbo. Last year, MZWP advisory council chairman Donald Khumalo expressed satisfaction over the progress at the Gwayi-Shangani Dam during a site visit.
But yesterday, Khumalo was evasive in disclosing the state of affairs at the project, only indicating that there was not much happening concerning the project.
“We are assisting the government in this project and the only person who can have much to say about it is the Environment, Climate and Water minister Saviour Kasukuwere,” he said.
“If you ask him, maybe you will get to know what is happening and that will assist us as well.
“Last time when I asked government officials on the progress at the project, they said there was no money.”
Construction works were reportedly halted since late January this year due to funds shortage and sometime in March, Kasukuwere admitted during a meeting in Matabeleland North that construction work had stopped.
But when contacted for comment yesterday, Kasukuwere played down the issue of unavailability of funds being responsible for the lack of progress.
“You know that the construction industry works on annual chapter basis and it does not work on this chapter of the year,” he said in a cryptic manner.
Kasukuwere could not be drawn into going into detail on how the annual chapters affect the industry before he switched off his mobile.