All major infrastructure projects being undertaken by the Government will be completed to ensure they improve people’s livelihoods, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Government had a solid record of completing all its projects.
Construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is now two months behind schedule because of Covid-19-induced delays, but the Government is committed to complete it on time.
“I believe we are on track. If you recall, contractors were away for a while due to Covid-19 and now they are back and work has resumed,” he said.
“Funds are being released and more will be released.
“We have a strong record of completing our dam projects as you have seen us complete Muchekeranwa Dam and Causeway Dam in Buhera.
“Now we are busy with Chivhu Dam and then Gwayi-Shangani, as well as the Nyamandlovu Aquifer.
“With that track record, there shouldn’t be any concern at all and funds will be released and the dam will be completed.
“We will work together to make sure that they (contractors) meet their target.
“There is no crisis whatsoever; we are committed to that and we will deliver on that.”
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes Dr. Joram Gumbo and Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr. Richard Moyo on Thursday toured the Gwayi-Shangani Dam site.
Briefing the ministers, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) resident engineer Mr. Paul Dengu said: “Progress is at 41 percent and we are behind by two months. We can catch up if funding is consistent. We have 350 men on-site and can go up to 620 to push work if money is there.”
Treasury has set aside $10,7 billion for dam infrastructure this year, with $4,5 billion going towards the Gwayi-Shangani.
Zinwa is working with engineers from the China International Water and Electric Corp, who had been held up in China since December 2019 because of the global pandemic.
The engineers have since moved back on site and full-scale construction work has resumed. The dam is set to be completed by December this year. The Gwayi-Shangani Dam was first mooted in 1912 by the colonial Rhodesia government.
Its construction is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, which, upon completion, is expected to provide a permanent water solution for the dry Bulawayo and Matabeleland region.
It is expected to create an irrigation greenbelt for communities along the 252km Gwayi-Shangani Dam-Bulawayo pipeline.
About 10 000 hectares of land will be cleared for the establishment of irrigation schemes.
Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be the third-biggest inland water body in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, both in Masvingo.