SA to part­ner Zim in Zam­bezi Wa­ter project im­ple­men­ta­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

SOUTH Africa and pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions from out­side the coun­try are plan­ning to part­ner Zim­babwe and as­sist in the com­ple­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Mata­bele­land Zam­bezi Wa­ter project.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Zam­bezi Wa­ter project, which has been ham­pered by chal­lenges, seeks to end the peren­nial wa­ter short­ages in Bu­l­awayo by bring­ing wa­ter from the Zam­bezi River to the city.

South Africa-Zim­babwe Busi­ness Con­nect pres­i­dent Mr Jus­tice Maphosa said the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Zam­bezi project re­quired a holis­tic ap­proach with as­sis­tance from other Gov­ern­ments and pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions.

“We’re in the process of com­ing up with a Mas­ter plan as a strate­gic frame­work for guid­ing in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment within the two coun­tries. Projects such as the Mata­bele­land Wa­ter project are key to this plan.

“As SA-Zim busi­ness Con­nec­tion, we seek to ap­proach it in a triple P plan that should be pur­sued and im­ple­mented to the ben­e­fit of both coun­tries.

“Imag­ine what a wa­ter canal sys­tem from the Zam­bezi River down to Umz­ing­wane join­ing and feed­ing the Tuli River can do to the econ­omy of Zim­babwe. We see this as a Gov­ern­ment to Gov­ern­ment ar­range­ment, with the two coun­tries fi­nanc­ing a por­tion of it and a huge por­tion com­ing from pri­vate funds,” said Mr Maphosa while ad­dress­ing del­e­gates at a busi­ness meet­ing in Bu­l­awayo on Fri­day.

He said they were al­ready dis­cussing with part­ners in South Africa and Le­sotho who have shown in­ter­est in be­ing part of the project.

“These part­ners are al­ready do­ing it in South Africa and Le­sotho and they’re keen to come to Zim­babwe and as­sist. At times projects are dif­fi­cult if you look at it from coun­try to coun­try but if you bring in pri­vate funds, co­or­di­nated with a very keen in­ter­est and over­seen by Gov­ern­ments of both coun­tries, such projects can be suc­cess­ful.

“South Africa does not har­vest its own wa­ter. We have con­structed many rivers, dams and canals work­ing with many part­ners from Le­sotho.

“We can take ad­van­tage of these part­ners to come into the coun­try. We can make it work if the will­ing­ness is there,” said Mr Maphosa.

The idea to build a pipe­line from the Zam­bezi River to Bu­l­awayo was first mooted in 1912 by the Bri­tish colo­nial rulers of the then South­ern Rhode­sia af­ter re­al­is­ing that the Mata­bele­land re­gion suf­fered per­sis­tent droughts.

The plan to draw wa­ter from the great Zam­bezi, re­garded as the sole and per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the re­gion’s peren­nial wa­ter woes, was to con­struct a dam with a ca­pac­ity to hold 691 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters of wa­ter and the pipe­line from the Zam­bezi River link­ing the dam with Bu­l­awayo.

As per the plan, a green belt which is 30km wide on ei­ther side of the 450km pipe­line was to be cre­ated and was to see more than five mil­lion hectares be­ing put un­der ir­ri­ga­tion.

An­a­lysts have said the project re­quires the pri­vate sec­tor to part­ner Gov­ern­ment as well as fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions from out­side the coun­try to chip in and as­sist bring the project to an end.

Mr Maphosa, who is a Zim­bab­wean born SA-based busi­ness­man, said Zim­babwe had a lot of in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and he was in the coun­try to get the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion on con­cerns such as is­sues of land rights, bond notes and indi­geni­sa­tion pol­icy. — @ pame­lashumba1

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