Cellphones replace NRZ signals

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Cellphones replace NRZ signals 21 September 2014

The National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ)’s entire railway system has been run down to a point where enginemen have to resort to using cellphones to communicate, Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu has revealed.

Mpofu said the railway system was in a deplorable state and needed a complete overhaul.

“The entire railway system of this country needs to be rehabilitated and we are talking of the signals and everything that would make the trains move.

Currently there are no signals and trains just pass by where there are no signals and sometimes they [enginemen] have to use cellphones to communicate,” said Mpofu while addressing the Bulawayo Matabeleland business community and other stakeholders.

He said the rail system had become a death trap for travellers.

“Just now we were at Heany Junction where there was a derailment and the railway system was disjointed.The train came when it was like that and it derailed into the bush. Is that what we want? No,” said the minister.

He said government had engaged the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) for the provision of between US$450 and US$700 million to bankroll the rehabilitation of NRZ.

“I beg those [striking workers]who are at the NRZ to please be patient,” said Mpofu, adding that he was hopeful the mega deal with DBSA would be signed soon.

The deal is expected to breathe a new lease of life to NRZ’s nagging operational woes which have seen workers at the parastatal going for months without getting paid.

Mpofu chided NRZ employees for staging protests over outstanding salaries at a time the government was in delicate negotiations with DBSA to revive the parastatal, saying the action would scare away the investor.

NRZ is struggling with a US$144 million debt. It recorded a US$17 million deficit in the first five months of 2014, after generating US$44 million and spending US$61 million.

The NRZ needs money to renew its aged lines and fleet which has wagons that are over 40 years old. The parastatal ferried about 3,6 million tonnes of goods last year, against a target of 6 million tonnes.

This is a far cry from the business it recorded in 1998, when the NRZ moved 18 million tonnes of freight.


  • comment-avatar

    Cellphone cards economy. The Rhodesian legacy and infrastructure destroyed by zpf morons

    • comment-avatar
      Tsuro 8 years ago

      It is because of sanctions imposed by the British….t. Open your eyes we shall never be a colony again!

      • comment-avatar
        Mena Bona 8 years ago

        If you believe this, you believe that that sun rises in the West. You were very obviously born after, so called independance, because you know nothing. Brainwashed and blind to what goes on around you. VUKA.

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    Mixed Race 8 years ago

    What are we leaving our children and grand children?These poor children will curse us for the rest of their lives when they read about our true history in the future.As I stated a few weeks ago that if you drive along the railway line between Byo and V Falls you feel completely shocked how these trains manage to move on these unprotected rail lines.
    The minister is not being realistic when he asks railway employees to be patient when mps and ministers spent a lot of money on new vehicles instead of spending that to pay the employees.Why put the cart in front of the horse.It is better to pay employees first before spending money on expensive cars.How can hungry people be expected to work hard when their families are starving?The government is responsible for the mess at the railways because the top management is chosen by the minister on political grounds.
    You can pour in billions of dollars but if you have poor management the new network will soon go back to what it was before replenishing within a couple of years.We can honestly say most of our parastatals have failed due to poor management of resources even if the equipment is old.We managed successfully with very old equipment before independence.Our railways,broadcasting network and telecommunication network worked fine with old equipment.Sanctions in my opinion give you a chance to be innovative and come out with local substitutes mainly on spares and technology,if you cannot do that ,then you are a dead nation technologically.

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    Lots of things need to be done, but the leadership of the nation are not serious people.

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      Realist 8 years ago

      The once Rhodsian Railways and the since 1980 National Railways of Zimbabwe was a infra structure every country envied Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and would have been proud of to call it their own.
      That railway was run by people who were a legend.
      Are there still readers who can remember them?

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    Sonofngwazi 8 years ago


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    Swagman 8 years ago

    The derailment at Heany Junction is like the
    derailment at ZANU-PF Junction – no intellect,
    no plan, no vision and no money!

    Why are we surprised that NRZ is running blind,
    so is Mugarbage’s regime!

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    The efficiency and effectiveness of any Govt is seen through how it manages state assets. We saw during Ian Smith and now see the destructive tendencies of the current government. There is not a single parastatal that runs well under this Govt. This is largely thanks to corruption, unsuitable management and a shocking lack of accountability. The current management at NRZ has been positioned there to suppress worker union activity rather to drive the parastal forward. Its a shame.

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    Johann 8 years ago

    Such a sad outcome for a country of such potential.Well done Zimbabwe you’ve done exactly what was predicted before independence. You are now laughing stock.

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    tonyme 8 years ago

    At independence all these infrastructural entities were functional. As stewards of a free Zimbabwe, all these things should have been given proper attention to ensure they remained functional or were improved for the betterment of a free Zimbabwe. The business of blaming the British of Americans for the sanctions is childish at best. Why should we blame them for sustaining our economy. When there were sanctions against Ian Smith the economy was just as good and Smith did nit flinch a bit. So lets wake up and fix the railway and make it functional as grown ups.

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      gwabu 8 years ago

      Charamba said that they are working hard as zpf to destroy the Rhodesian infrastructure and businesses. So let them succeed and of course they have succeeded no doubt.

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    Tinomunamataishe 8 years ago

    This is after these guys gave the reins of the company to a war veteran with no business experience but just Zanu PF patronage. Look at where he has now left the company which at one time was one of the best run companies and most people wanted to work for NRZ.

    Sadly, the story does not end here. This has been repeated at countless companies which the Zanu PF regime has managed to wreck. If these guys could prang the Reserve Bank what more of other corporations.

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    nyoni 8 years ago

    Zanu period fools running on empty.

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    JRR56 8 years ago

    Since 1980 not one parastatal has had the forsight and investment made to enable them to become efficient and modern. Rather they have been subject to corrupt prcatices and rampant theft. NRZ is but one of many, Air Zim, Zesa, Wankie, Iron and steel industries. The lets goes on. Sanctions??? Pft!!! incompetence and greed is why. Nothing else. These ididotic slogans of “WE shall never be a colony again” are typical if the infantile thoughts of these Zanu PF stalwards who chant them to apeal to the uneducated or maybe just stupid people in our society.

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    Mena Bona 8 years ago

    Ode to Prime Minister Ian Smith.
    Signed: A Black Man in Canada, the sad night we witnessed Ian Smith’s passing.
    I didn’t go to a first class school in Rhodesia, 
    yet Rhodesia gave me a first class education. 
    I had no right then to vote in Rhodesia, 
    yet Zimbabwe gave me the right to vote for a devil. 
    While young I was brought up to hate you, Smithy, 
    but as a man I grew up to hate your Enemy. 
    I believed that Rhodesia would never have black rule, 
    but it does now. I will never live under a Zimbabwean fool. 
    I’m not white and never took you to be my PM then, 
    but I’m black and would rather have had you as my PM now! 
    You were right and had to leave your government. 
    I was wrong and left my beloved country. 
    I am not a poet, but these are my thoughts. 
    I am proud of what I am, yet you are the man who made me what I am!
    On behalf of the many black faces who dare not say, 
    if ever you were hated, Sir, you are deeply missed today. 
    The only PM we should have kept!

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    Jake PhD 8 years ago

    At least they have cellphones, they could have been using drum beat messages. Train travel was a thing of beauty once upon a time. Please note my recently acquired PhD.

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    How many times have we been told a rescue package from some bank is “imminent” Nothing comes out of it. Zanu-Pf has watched everything crumble .they still shamelessly suck from the carcasses of the parastatals. For how else do they explain the huge pay for bosses of these institutions? They still deny accountability for the sorry state of affairs.
    What bank is prepared to give us money to build Zimbabwe from scratch?

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    What goes around comes around Rambakuudzwa akawonekwa nembonje pahuma

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    bruce Koffe 8 years ago

    You allowed Commodore Karakadzai to loote over $300000.00 and $11000 cash at his death, this money was found in his office and body, why did you allow the wife to take such huge sum. What form of business was he running that he would have such amounts in his NRZ offices and car. Any way Obert you are also not seeing tha the very system you are supporting ZANU PF is the group of mafias who are up to no good towards people of Zimbabwe and Matebeleland in particular. They have destroyed the region so much that most of your young men are flocking to SA as if South Africa is an extension of Matebeleland province. Come December vacation the whole town is full of GPs and NW and L number plates like there is soem kind of invasion. You do not even notice insteady you call them jivhas not realising these are young who should be working for NRZ and contribute positively to the region, and soem becaming politicians to strengthern the Ndebeles as people in government and work places. What a fool, wake up Mpofu and demand recognistion on behalf of the province.

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      Trend 8 years ago

      remember Mpofu is also a mafia who is up to no good as far as Matebeleland as well as Zimbabwe is concerned. Nothing good will come out of the likes of Oberts of this world. We need a new breed of politicians who place nation’s interests before their own interests. We need a new dispensation and without that we are doomed brothers and sisters

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    Twinn 8 years ago