By Vumani Mthiyane
The much-awaited tarring of the Gwanda-Maphisa road has been delayed due to funding constraints and lack of equipment, a government official confirmed.
However, stakeholders and the community at large have been lobbying the government to allocate funds towards the surfacing of the road which is regarded as one of the worst in the province because of its rocky nature.
Asked about the progress and challenges that might be affecting the completion of the project an official from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Engineer Joseph Makokove said so far they managed to clear only 3 km of the bush while 1.8km fill layer was constructed.
The project will be implemented in two phases and will gobble $30.2 million.
“Yes we have a road development programme, it is being funded by treasury and we are starting with 10km. 5km will be done in-house and the other 5 km is going to be outsourced,” said Eng. Makokove.
“The project is under the road development programme and our intention is to surface the whole stretch but for now the 5km stretch will be our focus and we hope to complete it in 6 months.’’
‘The project was allocated $5 million last year and for this year we have $6 million,’’ he said.
“However, just like any other project we are faced with challenges such a lack of funding and no adequate equipment in the province,” he said.
Ward 9 Gwanda rural district councillor, Mozitha Moyo once quipped during a full council meeting that resurfacing only 5km was a joke and an insult to the people of Gwanda and Matobo districts considering that the former is the provincial capital.
Due to the poor state of the road, motorists are forced to use the longer route to travel to Maphisa or Gwanda.
Instead of driving through the 66km rocky road, motorists go via Bulawayo which is a distance of 464 km to avoid wear and tear of their vehicles.