Minister commissions Food for Assets programme bridge
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.