‘Rejected’ Gwanda transmitter tower gets the nod
A GWANDA transmitter tower which foreign engineers once deemed unfit for digital transmission was yesterday given a thumbs up by local engineers. The development will save the Government more than $500 000. The transmission site was part of 11 sites which had been condemned by engineers that the Government contracted from outside the country.
The Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services enlisted the services of a local engineering company, Arup Engineering Consultants, to seek a second opinion.
Engineer Privilage Dzadagu did the assessment yesterday and gave the tower a green light for operation.
Sites in Insiza, Victoria Falls and Tsholotsho were also condemned for structural defects and work has already commenced at Insiza and Tsholotsho to replace concrete foundations.
Speaking during a tour of the site yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, Mr George Charamba, said he was relieved to learn that the Gwanda transmission site was ready to host the digitalisation equipment. This tower was one of the 11 sites which had been condemned by engineers whom the Government had hired from outside the country. However, we then engaged local engineers to get a second opinion and I’m happy to hear that the tower can host the digitalisation equipment. We needed about $600 000 to replace it. We can now channel resources to building new ones elsewhere,” said Mr Charamba.
He said the problem with the Gwanda transmitter tower was that part of it was rusty due to lack of maintenance over the years.
“This tower was built by Rhodesians but the engineers said only the top part, which we were going to remove anyway when installing the antennas, was corroded,” said Mr Charamba.
“This means that this site is suitable. This one is different from others as it doesn’t sit on pedestals. It is anchored by guy ropes which should be lubricated regularly with grease so that they won’t rust.
“We didn’t do well in the past but we have learnt. Pulling down the tower was going to take unbudgeted resources. We don’t talk about resources only. It was also going to disadvantage communities which have thousands and thousands of listeners and viewers as it was going to be switched off.”
Government is set to digitalise and move away from the analogue system.
Once the country has places that are compliant to digitalisation and set top boxes, they will be switched on, meaning that the switching on programmes will be staggered. — @richardmuponde