Midlands made remarkable progress in 2021

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Head of the Midlands Bureau
As the New Year begins today, the Midlands Province welcomes the remarkable progress made in 2021 in agriculture and other economic sectors.

Despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the province has been able to attract key investments and commission some of the completed projects.

One of the highlights was the approval of the scheduled commissioning of the US $ 1 billion Mvuma steel plant this year, which will be Africa’s largest steel plant.

The project, which is managed by the Chinese Tsingshan Holding Group, began with the development of an iron ore mine and a carbon steel plant in Mvuma. The investment is expected to create 6,000 jobs.

The Department of Local Government and Public Works has also granted Mvuma city status, making the gold mining center the fourth largest city in the Midlands Province.

The other towns in the province are Gokwe, Zvishavane and Shurugwi.

The year 2021 also saw President Mnangagwa commission the $ 1.6 million Kudzanayi long-distance bus terminus, which is the envy of many cities after the Second Republic facilitated a partnership agreement between the council. municipality of Gweru and a private entity, Bentach Resources.

The new-look facility has unique modern facilities such as automated doors and shopping malls, while its showers and toilets have been upgraded.

During the year, the government also commissioned several decentralization projects, including the state-of-the-art isolation center at Gweru Covid-19 Provincial Hospital, which has more than 10 fully equipped intensive care units.

New look of the Kudzanayi long-distance bus terminal

Several impassable roads in the eight administrative districts of the provinces have also been improved through the use of emergency funds for road rehabilitation, while most of the dams are being rehabilitated as the government intensifies the revival of the perimeters. irrigated.

In the agricultural sector, the province succeeded in exceeding its projected target of 40,000 tonnes of maize following the massive response to the Pfumvudza / Intwasa program.

Wheat farmers in the Midlands province have had to contend with the menacing quéléa birds that have ravaged most areas of Sherwood in the Kwekwe district. The government, however, came on board to contain the situation before it got out of hand.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima, however, said more could have been done and referred to the rehabilitation and dualisation of the Boterekwa Road to Shurugwi, which is still in progress. suspense amid reports that a winning company, Transithomes Contractors, has no machinery to work on the million-dollar project.

Instead, the company would mine gold ore in the name of clearing the land to begin work. The program received US $ 4.2 million from the government under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Program.

When the Chronicle visited the location last week, there was a dump truck that was loaded with gold ore and no other earthmoving equipment, which is suitable for the road development at the site.

The scope of work is to rehabilitate 7 km of the road from the town of Shurugwi to the end of Boterekwa. In addition, the contractor is supposed to dualize the last 600 meters to cover an area well known as the “butcher’s shop”, which is a black spot.

Every month, a life is lost on the spot because the trucks mostly lose control while lowering the exhaust, resulting in fatal accidents. The call for tenders was awarded but nothing significant was done on the ground.

As such, the Midlands Province’s ambitious plan to double its gross domestic product (GDP), which is currently estimated at US $ 1.948 billion to 2018 levels, is under threat as the dualisation of the road does has not started yet.

Minister Mavima said the province received $ 942 million under the presidential emergency road rehabilitation program in which the dualisation of Boterekwa has become a top priority.

“A total of US $ 4.2 million has been allocated to ensure that Boterekwa, also known as the ‘Wolf Pass’, is finalized before the end of the year, but it is clear that the target will not be not achieved because there is nothing going on on the site, “he said.

“The company that won the tender was not up to the task, it has no equipment. Trucks were seen there to collect gold ore, it seems, and I am not at all happy, ”Minister Mavima said.

He called on anti-corruption agencies like Zacc to probe how a company, which allegedly had no equipment, ended up getting the multi-million dollar tender.

“I believe there is a scandal there. I don’t know who these guys know, which put them ahead of potential companies, ”Mavima said.

“I heard that they had rented equipment from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, which is suspicious.

“If the department has the equipment, then why was this job given to these guys?” The department should have done it itself.

So I feel a rat and anti-corruption agencies must intervene quickly so that we are not affected by this development, ”said Minister Mavima.

The minister also said that the affected contractor had submitted development plans, which were reportedly not approved.

“They didn’t provide approved development plans, you know that. So we wonder what they want to use. Something is wrong. We call on the authorities to address this issue urgently so that everything that is wrong can be corrected because we want this road to be rehabilitated as quickly as possible, ”Minister Mavima said.

The road, he said, is a lifeline for freight trucks and motorists from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and beyond.

“It has also become a major trafficking link with Sadc,” Minister Mavima said.

He said many mining companies such as Mimosa and Unki now depend on the road for the movement of their cargo.

“Besides the breathtaking scenic beauty of the pass, the road is increasingly critical for the transit of goods in the country,” Mavima said.

“The pass, which has been threatened by heavy traffic and the activities of miners, will now benefit from a new lifeline following the commitment of funds for its dualisation by the government.”

Minister Mavima said the Midlands Province has embarked on four phases of road rehabilitation.

“The first phase of patching the highways and the second phase, which consists of engraving and re-engraving the local roads, are now complete. Roads were cited as the main catalysts for economic activity and national growth, while also facilitating traffic for various economic activities, ”he said.

“At a time when the country has just had a bumper harvest this year, roads are vital for transporting grain to markets and for moving inputs for the next farming season.

“Every month we lose the lives of mostly truck drivers and passengers here and there and that is why we are eager to urgently end this program.”

Efforts to get feedback from the company were unsuccessful as the number of project managers was not showing.
Last year, President Mnangagwa declared the roads a state of national disaster and called on national and local authorities to carry out a massive road rehabilitation exercise.

The Midlands Province has the largest shoe manufacturing company in Zimbabwe, Bata, which is located in the provincial capital Gweru, Dendairy, the largest dairy company in the country, is located in Kwekwe, the second largest city in the Midlands, two of the three largest Platinum Group Metal Mines; Mimosa and Unki are found in the province.

On a sad note, the province has lost the liberation icon and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, retired Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo who succumbed to Covid-19 in early 2021.

Dr SB Moyo, who was instrumental in the birth of the Second Republic, was declared a national hero and buried at the National Shrine.

On crime issues, the province has lost several citizens to murders and armed robberies, the highlight being a Kwekwe man who went mad and allegedly killed seven neighbors with a spear. The case is still before the courts.

With research from some scientists in South Africa indicating that the Covid-19 Omicron variant boosts immunity to the deadly Delta variant, the Midlands can only hope for better fortune in 2022.

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