George Maponga–Masvingo Bureau
President Mnangagwa on Monday got a feel of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway undergoing rehabilitation when he travelled by road to Rutenga in southern Masvingo, where he commissioned a Mapfura/Marula Processing and Value Addition Factory at the rapidly expanding growth point.
The factory was built by the National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe and will produce 100 000 litres of marula concentrate and 5 000 litres of oil each season.
Upgrade and rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway was started by the Second Republic to allow the growing heavy traffic to move faster on what is probably the busiest national highway.
Addressing thousands of people who came to Rutenga Primary School, President Mnangagwa said together with Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, they got a feel of the rehabilitated highway.
“I travelled by road on my way here, so did my Vice President. He also travelled by road because we wanted to see for ourselves whether the reports we get about progress on the project are correct,” said the President.
VP Chiwenga had earlier on spoken about the issue saying the President wanted to have a first-hand assessment of the new road.
“Vafamba nenzira vachiona zvese nematama ayo (he travelled by road to assess the works being done, including the new width). The President wanted to see for himself what the road looks and feels like now,” said VP Chiwenga.
The Government awarded five local companies the contract to rebuild the highway so that it becomes a world class road.
The companies are Bitumen World, Exodus and Company, Masimba Construction, Tensor Systems and Fossil Contracting.
They are expected to complete the 584km stretch from Harare to Beitbridge by end of next year.
So far, they have completed 240km, which have since been opened to traffic.
Motorists and the traveling public have commended Government for rehabilitating the highway, which had become a death trap while slowing movement of goods and passenger traffic.
The Government turned to local expertise by engaging local firms, which are paid in local currency.
Besides having a multiplier effect on the local economy through job creation, among other positive effects, awarding the contract to local companies gives them experience which will allow then to bid for similar projects in the region.
Besides the Harare-Beitbridge highway, the Second Republic has embarked on many infrastructural projects aimed at stimulating the economy in line with the drive to attain an empowered and prosperous upper middle income society.