News Column

Plumtree-Mutare Road Project On Target

January 24, 2014

Peter Matambanadzo

Government says the rehabilitation of the Plumtree-Mutare highway is on target with 70 percent of the work completed. This follows reports that the US$206 million road project was stopped after Group Five International of South Africa pulled out after Zimbabwe defaulted on loan repayments to the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Development Mr Munesushe Munodawafa yesterday said, "The deal has not collapsed. The project is very much on course and should be completed by June." Mr Munodawafa said Government paid what was due and would continue honouring its obligations. "We have fully serviced our obligations and DBSA has not raised any concerns. We have never defaulted on our payments," he said. Mr Munodawafa said the project temporary stopped due to rains and will resume after the rains subside. "The phase we have reached is focusing on resurfacing of the road. You cannot proceed where there are heavy rains as this affects the quality of the final product. So not only will the project resume in the second week of February, but we will also start the second phase of dualising the Norton-Kadoma highway," he said. Another reason the road rehabilitation was suspended, Mr Munodawafa said was to reduce accidents and congestion during the festive season. "We made a conscious decision in the interests of traffic safety to temporarily halt the project during this period because of heavy traffic to reduce accidents at construction sites," he said. Mr Munodawafa said externally audited accounts of the project had been submitted to Group Five , which is partnering the Zimbabwe National Road Administration in the project. Group Five senior official in South Africa Mr Eric Verma said the company had not pulled out of the deal. "We are much engaged in the project in Zimbabwe and we have not stopped. Our construction teams are on the ground. We only stopped because of the rainy season and the level of activity will increase later on in March to April," Mr Verma said.

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Source: AllAfrica

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