BULAWAYO, Wednesday, September 5, 1966. — “In strongly recommending that the rail link should be connected from Beitbridge to join the south-east railway line at or near Rutenga, the municipalites of Gwelo, Que Que, Gatooma and Fort Victoria and the TMBs of Hartley, Shabani and Selukwe have recorded their disapproval at the manner in which this vital issue is being treated by Bulawayo”.
These words are in the memorandum from these authorities which was today submitted to the rail link commission, which was sitting in Gwelo. The memorandum continues: “Those concerned (in Bulawayo) are apparently quite happy to see that a decision is taken regardless of the interests of the country as long as the interest of Bulawayo are taken care of.”
“We know from past experience that over the years this sort of political pressure has been successful in overriding the interests of the country in favour of the two cities, but we feel certain that this is unlikely to happen with the present government. Should the findings of an unbiased and factual report show that it would be in the national interest to connect Beitbridge to West Nicholson, then we will go along with that finding and give it our full support. It should not be too much to hope that Bulawayo will like wise agree to support a decision to put the line from Beitbridge to Rutenga, if this is shown to be in the national interest.” “We will leave it to the report called for by the government to dispel the illusion of Bulawayo becoming a ‘ghost town’ should that city not get something it has not got now”. The reasons the Midlands authorities recommend that the link should be at or near Rutenga are that while the distances from Beitbridge to West Nicholson are about the same, the land traverses to Rutenga is fairly flat, open country, with a rise of only 160ft. On the other hand, the country between Beitbridge and West Nicholson is very broken and hilly with a arise of 1,149ft with consequent effect on train loading and running.