Min­is­ter com­mis­sions Food for As­sets pro­gramme bridge

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Richard Muponde Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Min­is­ter of Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment, Dr Jo­ram Gumbo yes­ter­day com­mis­sioned the $200 000 SiziyakheleMt­shabezi Bridge in Umz­ing­wane which links six wards to the Bu­l­awayo-Beit­bridge high­way.

The bridge is the first to be com­mis­sioned in the prov­ince un­der the Gov­ern­ment’s Food for As­sets pro­gramme bet­ter known as the Food for Work pro­gramme with vil­lagers work­ing in con­junc­tion with the Dis­trict De­vel­op­ment Fund (DDF).

Dr Gumbo said he has no doubt that the bridge would make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

“It will also fa­cil­i­tate trans­port and busi­ness op­er­a­tions in the ar­eas be­yond. It’s im­por­tant at this junc­ture to men­tion that the Pub­lic Works or Food for As­sets Pro­gramme, the DDF to­gether with other com­mu­ni­ties, is work­ing on the fol­low­ing bridges in the prov­ince — Nta­lale and Mlam­bapheli Bridges in Gwanda Dis­trict as well as Mananda Bridge in Bulil­ima Dis­trict. These projects are set to be com­mis­sioned very soon as they are near­ing com­ple­tion,” said Dr Gumbo.

He said the Gov­ern­ment en­vis­ages a sce­nario where ev­ery com­mu­nity was linked to ur­ban ar­eas where most pub­lic and busi­ness ser­vices were pro­vided.

“Hence the con­struc­tion of roads and bridges has re­mained one of its top pri­or­i­ties in the de­vel­op­ment agenda. This is not con­fined to this dis­trict alone as you will re­call that over the years, roads and bridges have been com­mis­sioned through­out the prov­ince and other parts of the coun­try as well,” he said.

The min­is­ter said it was com­mend­able that af­ter re­al­is­ing that Mt­shabezi River was im­pass­able dur­ing the rainy sea­son the com­mu­nity through their leg­is­la­tor, Cde William Dewa and lo­cal lead­er­ship mo­bilised them­selves and started work­ing on the bridge.

Speak­ing at the same oc­ca­sion, the Min­is­ter of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Pro­mo­tion and Preser­va­tion of Na­tional Cul­ture and Her­itage, Cde Abed­nico Ncube ap­plauded the Gov­ern­ment for com­ing up with the Food for As­sets pro­gramme.

“It’s aimed at poverty re­duc­tion and en­sur­ing in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in our com­mu­ni­ties. This is guided by the coun­try’s Zim-As­set blue print and the 10 Point Plan. As you are aware we are one of the hard­est hit prov­inces by drought, hence we are fac­ing chal­lenges em­a­nat­ing from this drought,” said Cde Ncube.

Siziyakhele-Mt­shabezi Bridge was ini­ti­ated by the Kum­budzi com­mu­nity way be­fore the food for as­sets pro­gramme was con­ceived.

Vil­lagers from Ward 11 and 12 had prob­lem ac­cess­ing Esigo­dini dur­ing the rainy sea­son for over 40 years and were ei­ther trav­el­ling through Bu­l­awayo or Gwanda.

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