Minister grilled over rising road carnage

HARARE - Transport minister Joram Gumbo was on Thursday grilled by senators over the increase of fatal accidents on Zimbabwe’s roads, with the legislators demanding government’s action to curb further loss of lives.

This comes as at least 30 people were killed after a South Africa-bound Proliner bus they were travelling in reportedly sideswiped a haulage truck and caught fire on Wednesday along the Harare-Beitbridge highway.

The victims were burnt beyond recognition.

During a question and answer session, MDC senator for Manicaland Keresensia Chabuka asked what government policy was regarding the fatal accidents increasingly occurring on the busy 900km highway — an economically strategic passage linking landlocked Zimbabwe and Zambia to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.

Gumbo said the government will soon hold a ground-breaking ceremony to commission a dualisation project of the road.

“The main problem which we were facing is that we did not have enough money to construct or repair these roads.

“Consequently, we have had to borrow money from outside.  We borrowed $998 million which is nearly $1 billion and we are saying, we need to go to Chirundu and we are looking for a further $886 million which is another billion dollars,” he said.

Gumbo said “as a nation, we are very much grieved by the accident which occurred and we lost so many people.

“This is regardless of the condition of the road but what really hurt us as the government of Zimbabwe is the deaths on such accidents”.

“As I have told this august House before, we have sourced for a loan from a company which is prepared to help and to partner us and this company is called Geiger International from Austria,” he said.

Zimbabwe has signed an agreement with Chinese and Austrian firms to upgrade the highway, a deal that will be one of the country’s biggest road projects since independence 37 years ago.

Gumbo implored senators to talk to drivers in their constituencies to drive carefully.

Bulawayo Metropolitan senator Agnes Sibanda questioned Gumbo on what they are doing with haulage trucks causing accidents.

Gumbo said: “She is talking about removing the haulage trucks from the roads and also about the national railways.

“We need dualisation from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls.”

“When we dualise and have more lanes, we hope that it will help in reducing accidents but it does not mean that we will not have accidents completely.

“Haulage trucks cannot be removed from the roads because some of the things cannot be transported using other modes.

“They will always be there but the drivers have to exercise caution on the roads.

“As she is talking about the rehabilitation of the railways, our railway line is now dilapidated of which poor management and over employment are the causes.

“Cabinet has now given us a go ahead for us to source some funding to resuscitate our railway lines.

“We have had enquiries coming from people and we know at times we have overuse of the roads, which is at times caused by the poor railway system.

“These heavy trucks will then destroy the roads.”

Comments (3)

At least the zanu pf mafia government minister has acknowledged that most of these horrific accidents are caused by the poor state of our roads contrary to human error as the thieving Minister of Home Affairs and his ZRP sidekicks would want us to believe.They have actually raised fines on false pretext that they want to reduce accidents when in fact they are just out to steal from the over milked motorists.

Janana wa Bikaz - 9 April 2017

this means these guys need more than 1 million us dollars to do every km is this realistic

john - 10 April 2017

why not just buy enough proper equipment for Zinara and let it do the road works ,bring back ministry of roads and put back to life all those sub camps in the country and equip them for road repair come on.surely if a drum of bitumen is about $600 what fails ZINARA from buying 8 super link trailers of bitumen for the 8 provinces every month how much is it about usd168000 monthly until all roads are in good shape .come on guys

JOHN - 10 April 2017

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