BULAWAYO, Monday, August 1, 1966 — An exodus of engineering, textile and distributive firms from Bulawayo to the Midlands would follow the building of a railway line connecting Rutenga and Beitbridge, economist, Mr LP McCrystal has said.
The depressive effects would undermine the whole economy of Bulawayo and react adversely on the nation, he says.
If the Mafeking railway line should ‘’for any reason’’ become unavailable to Bulawayo, firms here which deal with the Transvaal would have to transport their goods 75 miles further, to use the Rutenga line to the south. This route will be 119 miles longer than if the connection were to West Nicholson.
No longer would Bulawayo be an attractive location for industrialists with an eye on the South African market, or for those who used South African materials.
Mr McCrystal maintains that the best interests of the whole Rhodesian economy would be served by a West Nicholson link.
He adds, in his lengthy and analytical memorandum, that he does not mean to imply that at some future date it might not be in the country’s interests to encourage the growth of the Midlands economy. For Bulawayo’s existing industries, a by-pass through Rutenga would be even more serious than for new industries, he says.