SOUTHERN NEWS | NRZ operational capacity peaks

BULAWAYO - Leased equipment from Transnet has stabilised the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)’s operational capacity, enabling the parastatal to reach a peak in its operations.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa in February unveiled 13 locomotives, 34 passenger coaches and 200 wagons from Transnet as part of measures to revive the parastatal under an agreement with the Diaspora Investment Development Group (DGIG) Transnet Consortium.

In an interview, NRZ public relations manager Nyasha Maravanyika said the interim solution equipment has allowed them to cover gaps within the parastatal and to ensure they stabilise in terms of operations

“The interim solution equipment leased to NRZ as part of the rudimentary phases of the recapitalisation project by DIDG consortium has gone a long way in stabilising our operations.

“Remember we were saying that we need this interim solution equipment to ensure that we cover the operational gaps that were now taking place.

“For example, early this year, there were articles concerning Zimasco where they were saying they failed to transport their 200 tonnes of chrome oil because NRZ does not have enough wagons.

“This initial phase for our recapitalisation project, where the president received the interim solution equipment was mainly to cover those gaps. Now as we speak, most of the 200 wagons that we received have been given to customers such as Zimasco among others so that they can capacitate the transportation of their tonnages, so that way it also improves the capacity for NRZ,” he said.

Maravanyika said the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route has been given a boost in terms of passengers and interest since the commencement of the deal.

“We recently received three more locomotives from the Transnet deal, initially seven were released but now they are 10, and last month we received some of the remaining 49 wagons, meaning we are left with receiving three locomotives.

“It has also increased our capacity in terms of locomotives which actually pull these wagons, with the seven coaches we received; we haven’t received more since the last ones.

“We put them on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route and that’s where we have increased patronage in terms of people boarding that train.

“Initially, without brown coaches going to Victoria Falls, we were having a patronage of around 240 but it has gone up to over 300. So in terms of passenger services, this route has been given a boost by us putting those locomotives on that route.

“However, the other routes are still operating with our old coaches,” he said.

Maravanyika said; “In terms of the welfare of workers, the operational capacity has stabilised and yielded positive results for the workers in terms of their welfare.

“We are happy that the stabilisation of our operational capacity has indeed improved our capacity to ensure we take care of workers welfare.

“The situation for our workers is improving, the workers are getting salaries every month although the government is yet to take care of old debts,” he said.
NRZ employees had for years endured massive salary arrears.

The NRZ deal will be finalised at the end of June as there are still on-going negotiations.

New computer book for Form 1

BULAWAYO - Author Tamanda Mgwalima has partnered with the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) to write a computer book for secondary schools titled Essentials of Computer Science Form 1.

The book is appropriate for the Zimsec new syllabus for 2015-2022.

One of the editors of the book, Eugene Makaya, said the book directly matches the new Zimsec 2015 to 2022 curriculum, enabling students to develop creative computational thinking, preparing them for examinations and the digital world beyond.

“The key features of the book are practical-based learning approaches supported by the colourful  live screen shots of the covered applications.

“It has simple and easy-to-use language for better understanding.

The skills and exercises therein help students consolidate their skills.

“It contains material relevant for the new curriculum and commensurate with the new computer age.

“It’s a very simple-to-read book written in simple English to allow for students to understand the key concepts,” he said.

The book is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe as there have not been such books on the local market.

Makaya said the book, which will be launched this month, was written in a manner that will allow for students with a computer background to understand it well.

“The book went through Zimsec review, in actual fact, it went through two phases before it was approved. This happened between August 2017 and February this year and we received an official approval letter.

“The content of the book is quite practical as it bridges the gap between theory and practical because it has practical exercises. The book is published in colour and graphical user interfaces for different exercise are shown for easy understanding.

“The students can use it even without much help from their instructors.

“At the recommendation of Zimsec, a chapter with revision tests was created to prepare students for their final assessment.

“From the sampling that we did with a number of schools locally, almost every computer science department has hailed the book and they are so much keen to have it,” he said.

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