Conrad Mupesa Mash West Bureau
THE District Development Fund (DDF) is determined to complete all its roads rehabilitations and upgrade targets in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1)as it enforces strict supervision on private contractors.
The fund, which besides having direct contracts also leases equipment to augment its fleet to work on the many secondary roads that connect most people to the national highway system, has sometimes failed to meet targets due to dubious workmanship.
Speaking yesterday during a tour of Karoi-Binga road upgrade, where the DDF and a private contractor are working on the second phase of another 10-kilometre stretch, DDF permanent secretary Mr Christopher Shumba said the department was committed to complete the road to benefit the marginalised communities.
“The communities could be expecting quite a lot whenever a project starts. People are not worried about seeing machinery transgressing their communities, but want to see the actual tarred road which will improve accessibility and reduce transport costs.
“Communities worry if projects take longer than they expect. We, as DDF, get worried as well because we know the roads that our communities are using from here to Binga and how bad they are. Our target is to complete this road on time but the only problem that we could be facing is that of contractors having other challenges hindering progress, hence periodic visits to monitor success.
“We will continue to employ spontaneous visits so that targets are met. We are encouraging the contractors to work with targets so that the part tarring is done whenever funding is availed,” said Mr Shumba.
The Karoi-Binga Road upgrade fills the major gap in the Harare-Victoria Falls route across southern Zimbabwe and will cut the distance between the two cities by around 200km as well as open up parts of Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North. It is being funded through Government’s Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2).
The US$10 million for the second phase has already been availed by central Government, with over 16 youths within the stretch of the road being employed as contract workers.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland West, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka commended the work by DDF engineers and private contractor.
“The Karoi-Binga Road’s second phase is right on track and the work is applauded.
“Looking at the way they are working, the stretch will be done by year end. However, while engineers are working on the road, we would want DDF to work on some of the bridges along the road that were affected by rains,” said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.
Provincial roads manager Mr Shame Nyachoto confirmed completion of second stretch by December this year.
Impact assessment stages will be conducted before tarring as DDF targets to deliver a durable road while provincial coordinator Mr Erikana Chikande said roads and bridges in the province were being worked on before the onset of rains to improve movement of farming inputs ahead of another good rainy season.