135 properties to be demolished

At least 135 residential, industrial and commercial properties built near Mbudzi roundabout in Harare will have to be demolished to pave way for the construction of 14 bridges and bridge-like structures at the new traffic interchange taking shape there, but the owners will get full compensation from the Government.

The Government has since roped in three valuers, one of them from the Public Works, while two others are independent ones, to carry out the assessment on those affected.

The normal procedure in these cases is to get the three valuations and average them.

The Mbudzi roundabout is at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze, Chitungwiza and High Glen roads that feed traffic from western Chitungwiza and many old and new suburbs into Harare city centre, as well as the heavy national and regional traffic on the Harare-Masvingo Highway.

A team of journalists and editors is currently touring the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway being shown progress by officials from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and Government officials.

In an interview, the ministry’s permanent secretary Engineer Kudzanai Chinyanga said they were happy with the progress being conducted at the Mbudzi traffic interchange by the contractor, Tefoma Group.

“So far the last time we were here we were talking about this bridge which is bridge number two,” he said. “Bridge number two is the one which carries traffic towards High Glen, Glen Norah and the like.

“So far on assessment of the project, we are excited and hoping that the contractor is keeping the progress. However, the drawback is that it has taken us more than we anticipated to conclude the compensation issues which are still ongoing.

“We have completed the valuation of all affected properties. We want to ensure that each and every affected citizen is not disadvantaged at all and that they are paid a fair compensation.”

Eng Chinyanga said the ministry was engaging each affected person individually and not as a group.

“We have strategies in place,” he said. “We have one group of affected citizens with title deeds, one group of citizens who are on leases. So we will deal with them separately. Those who are on leases are mainly on the Hopely side.

“There is a plan to get land quickly, put up some core houses for them and then move them. We will not leave anybody without shelter and this we are putting up arrangements to ensure that once we conclude with them, we agree with them, we move them and make sure that everyone is accommodated.”

Eng Chinyanga said those with title deeds, Government was considering two options with one of them being for them to identify properties of their choice of equivalent value and then Government pays.

“In as far as the construction is concerned, we are happy that most of the difficult bridges are almost out of the ground, we are trying to race before the rainy season,” he said. “Once they are out, even if it rains, they can still work with concrete outside. One other thing is that they are still prospecting for gravel.”

Eng Chinyanga said in total, there were 14 bridges that were to be constructed at the interchange and out of these, five were already under construction.

“The other bridges have not yet started and on the main one, we will have to close the junction completely,” he said.

“Then there are others that are within affected properties, we don’t want to move in there before we complete negotiations and discussions with the affected property owners.”

On the detour roads, Eng Chinyanga said the main detour road was completed.

He said soon they were going to install traffic lights at the main junctions because children will be crossing and also they will construct humps to control speed.

In two to three weeks time, the intersection will be shut down and those that need access to their properties near the intersection will be given special stickers to pass through.

The widening of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway, plus its reconstruction and rehabilitation, is a critical component of the North-South Corridor.

The project is being undertaken by five local companies and is being wholly funded by the Government.

By May this year, at least 313km of the rehabilitated highway had been opened to traffic.

The 971km highway has been divided into three sections: Beitbridge-Harare 570km (eight toll plazas), Harare-Chirundu 342km (six toll plazas) and Harare Ring Road 59km (three toll plazas).

Under the Infrastructure, Utilities and Digital Economy cluster, Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) prioritises completion of road rehabilitation projects.

Addressing the inaugural Buy Zimbabwe 2022 public procurement conference and awards ceremony in Harare last Wednesday, President Mnangagwa said local companies contracted by the Government to reconstruct and rehabilitate roads and highways were doing sterling and professional work, which highlights their capabilities.

Previously, local companies were being overlooked in terms of the awarding of tenders for big national projects.

The President said under the Second Republic, the Government took a bold, decisive and revolutionary decision to fundamentally transform the country through the awarding of procurement contracts and tenders to local enterprises.

The move by the Government has significantly helped to create and domesticate employment, as well as improve skills levels, while also saving the country some foreign currency.

Under the second phase of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2), the Government is resealing 1 290km of roads, reconstructing 427 drainage structures and working on 24 830km of erosion works and drains across the country.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development is also working with local authorities as the implementing agent in carrying out the roadworks under ERRP2.

Cabinet had declared the country’s road network as a state of disaster to allow central Government to step in ahead of local authorities, especially municipalities which generally have high levels of independence.

Councillors who belong to CCC party and are the majority elected in urban areas have been doing nothing to improve the roads, hence Government’s intervention.

Government has since mandated the Department of Roads to take over 500km of roads from urban councils.

The roadworks under the ERRP and involvement of some private sector players, has started to change the face of roads across the country. – Herald

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