BY REX MPHISA
THE District Development Fund (DDF), which is responsible for most primary roads in rural areas, last week launched an emergency rehabilitation programme with an initial national fund of $40 million.
The launch in Matabeleland South was on a 38km stretch of the Mapani-Tongwe to Lutumba Road, extensively damaged by heavy rains this season.
The function was attended by village heads and a few government officials in line with COVID-19 regulations.
The project involves repairing road structures like bridges, most of which were washed away by floods.
DDF provincial co-ordinator for Matabeleland South, Moment Malandu said the initial phase will look at the critical areas before being rolled out to all roads.
“We appeal to other road authorities to also do their roads to complement the primary roads that we are on,” Malandu said.
“We are also appealing to the government to purchase additional graders for distribution to provinces because at the moment we rely heavily on hired contractors which are expensive,” he said.
Zimbabwean road authorities are councils, the Transport and Infrastructure Development ministry and the DDF which is run from President Mnangagwa’s Office.
Guest of honour, Peter Mahlathini said the roads were an important asset for development.
“Communities need these roads to be able to access health facilities, administration offices and service centres. We understand some of the roads will be gravelled, upgraded and in some cases bridges will be rebuilt,” Mahlathini said.
Beitbridge East parliamentarian, Albert Nguluvhe (Zanu PF) said the timing of the repairs was perfect considering that most parts of the district were inaccessible due to the bad conditions of the roads.
“Bus operators have withdrawn. This blitz roads programme couldn’t have come at a better time. This year we have had good harvests and farmers might need to access the Grain Marketing Board with surplus crops,” Nguluvhe said.
His constituency mostly depends on food assistance. That activity demands good roads.
Beitbridge requires in excess of 300km in road rehabilitation. Nguluvhe appealed to other agencies to move in with speed.
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