Dispute stalls Beitbridge-Chirundu road rehab

HARARE - Beitbridge-Chirundu highway’s rehabilitation is being stalled by the project funder’s insistence to contract non-Zimbabwean companies, Transport ministry’s permanent secretary Munesu Munodawafa said.

The project, requiring between $500 million to $700 million, is supposed to be financed by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA).

Munodawafa told a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) congress in Mutare about a fort night ago that once the contractor issue is addressed, the rehabilitation would begin immediately.

“DBSA wants the procurement procedure to be held in South Africa as government cannot guarantee the loan,” he said.

“However, the system dictates we go to international tender process, so once we clear this hurdle, work on the road will begin,” he added. DBSA has already injected nearly $2 million in technical assistance to assess how bankable the project is.

The road is part of Zimbabwe’s trunk road network and is a part of the north–south corridor, one of the major arterial links in the regional road network.

It is the most direct link between Harare and Pretoria, and provides landlocked Zambia access to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.

Between 1 000 and 5 000 vehicles ply the route per day, with heavier flows in the proximity of Harare. The road is approximately 580km long, from Beitbridge to Harare.

It is a single carriageway two lane road with numerous bridges, some of them  substandard .

Although well maintained in the past, the road is now over 40 years old, bumpy and dangerous in some places, and is rapidly deteriorating under the increased heavy traffic flow.

DBSA is also involved in the Plumtree-Mutare highway where it provided funding of $206 million.

Group Five International, also in the project, has constructed major highways and airports in South Africa.

Munodawafa also said the signing of a $460 million facility from the DBSA for the recapitalisation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe was being delayed following the request by the bank to be allowed to engage South African technical partners.

“We are negotiating with South African financial institutions…. DBSA has shown interest and we have engaged international consultants. We need about $460 million. We should be able to secure something from DBSA soon.”

He also hinted that another reason why the project had not yet taken off was because of a pending court case.

He could not, however, divulge further information on the case.

This comes as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently lamented funders’ ‘equipment procurement and construction’ terms when they avail loans to the investment-starved country.

Under this condition, the funder dictates that companies from the home country handle the procurement and construction process.

Comments (5)

Please fix this killer road, stop all this bungling, court cases bla bla, people are dying everyday on that road, its just too narrow. I think twice each time I want to drive home.

TK - 12 August 2014

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aaa - 14 August 2014

Mourning over Development Bank of SOUTH AFRICA insisting on RSA constructors when your ZB Bank etc cant even finance a teaspoon purchase? Matibili govt is known for not paying zvikwereti and even a govt guarantee is useless pavanhu vakaita semi. Its a broke govt. Regai vanhu vaite basa apa. The biggest story is you need your hands to be "greased". kwete zvimafake story zvamuri kutiudza izvi.

Tongogara - 18 August 2014

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ziyapapa moyo - 20 August 2014

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