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Outcry over incomplete projects in Matabeleland South

Stakeholders have raised concern over the incomplete projects in Matabeleland South, questioning the effectiveness of the Parliament’s oversight role.

Speaking during an engagement with National Assembly speaker, Jacob Mudenda, in Bulawayo Tuesday, one of the participants, Bekezela Fuzwayo, cited the Gwanda magistrates Court and Gwanda-Maphisa Road as examples of incomplete projects in the province.

Fuzwayo said the people in Matabeleland South felt undermined, adding in 2018 they had to chase away members of Parliament who had come to the province to solicit for their views on the budget, arguing consultations were not yielding any fruit for them.

In his response, Mudenda said the executive had started working with Parliament to ensure incomplete projects are completed.

“I can vouch for you that the new dispensation now works very closely with Parliament,” said Mudenda. 

“What has been agreed is: don’t start new projects without completing those that remain incomplete. That is why the other day we saw the Chief Justice in Chinhoyi officiating at the completion of the Magistrate Courts because they had remained incomplete. This will happen in all provinces.” 

He said the government’s thrust now is to complete all the incomplete projects.

“Parliament agrees with the executive now that no more construction of new buildings or projects before those that were started are complete,” he said.

“On roads, the new dispensation also is working with Parliament. If you take for example the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare-Chirundu Road the government had engaged a company called Geiger International from Austria and for two years the people of Zimbabwe were waiting to get that road started.” 

Mudenda further said: “Your parliamentary committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development investigated this Geiger Company, only to discover that in fact that company had not constructed even 1 metre of a road in Austria. That’s a fact and the committee reported that that contract must be cancelled immediately and when President Mnangagwa came in he cancelled that contract.”

He said since then the government took a decision to prioritise local contractors in road construction.

“The Gwanda-Maphisa Road will be done by local engineers now,” he said. 

“It is one of those emotional projects that Professor Mthuli Ncube has admitted, it raises a lot of emotions. It has not been completed for a long time. The same with the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, it has taken long but honourable Minister (Joel) Matiza now has his team on the ground”. 

Turning to the MPs chased away in Gwanda, Mudenda said: “Don’t chase them away because when you chase them away you achieve nothing. You did not petition Parliament about the lack of completion of Magistrates Courts and Gwanda-Maphisa Road.

If nothing moves in the 2021 budget, write to us so we can push. But don’t be in the habit of chasing away committees, tell them your disappointments.”

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