A game plan for transport sector
we are moving fast.
Provincial and resident engineers are busy developing roads, so these are also included in the transport master plan, which takes care of those sectors.
When roads start moving again this will assist in employment and also in businesses being able to be efficiently run in terms of tobacco, in terms of agriculture, minerals transportation.
Roads are a very effective way of building towards Vision 2030.
We are looking at the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and unbundling it to be in line with the Chicago Convention of 1944, to make sure there is no conflict of interest and that they operate efficiently.
We want to have the Airports Management Company and the Civil Aviation Authority, which will be a regulatory board. So we are also looking at developing infrastructure there.
We are also rehabilitating and expanding Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, and soon we will be going to Buffalo Range and Kariba, through either BOTs or privatisation or any other (appropriate) models.
We are now beginning feasibility studies on these projects, which is part of our master plan. Because of devolution, each province has to have a properly functioning airport that is designed to land 737s.
Then after that, we will go down to aerodromes and then airstrips.
This again will assist in Vision 2030 because it helps with devolution and access to tourist destinations.
When miners are doing exploration work, they require airstrips as well.
We are also working on Air Zimbabwe; we need it to fly. We have put it under administration, and we are working with the administrator and I think so far he has done very well in terms of coming up with structures.
I will be taking them to Cabinet for discussion and approval so that we see the way forward for Air Zimbabwe.
We want it to be up and running as quickly as possible.
It’s one of the areas besides the roads that I am passionate about because I want to see it fly.
Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways are all Government companies. We are working on bringing them together so that we have one flagship.
We are in the process of doing that through the administrator, so it’s almost done.
On RGM Airport, contractors are on site, they are bringing in material; there is activity there as I speak.
Over the next three years, the project will be done.
On the railway system, we took one group on board to see what we can do together to revamp the railway network. We wait to see how this will pan out. We have an inter-ministerial team that is overseeing the process. I am going to be briefed in the next week to see how far this has gone and that will be in relation to NRZ, DIG and Transnet. We want to see if that can succeed. Options are there. At the end of the day, we want our rail system to be fully functional and run again.
If there should be a partner, let that be done quickly; if we are going to do it ourselves, we will look at financial models that can suit the local uptake.
In terms of performance, comparatively, with what they have been doing before, there is an increase in terms of goods delivery and so forth, they have been doing well if we look at it from that perspective.
They have increased their revenue, they have increased their tonnage.
This does not mean they have money; they don’t have much, they are still building and negotiating with their workers. Remember, it was a hot thing. They are hoping they will increase from what we are working on now, trying to get an investor and trying to see how they can increase efficiency.
On Beitbridge-Chirundu, we are in discussions with Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Limited.
We have started work by ourselves through mobilising our local resources.
We have transferred money from Zinara through a bond we have there for this project so that work can start as soon as possible in the next couple of weeks.
As a department, we have been doing it, we are working on Mutare Highway, Norton to Gweru are being done through a similar model.
We are working on so many roads as a department, so we have started work.
We are not wasting time. I want to make sure that we have started hitting the ground running.
We have a master plan that we are working on which include the localisation of many other issues. But whichever way, we have started now.
While we are negotiating with Afecc, our roads department has taken over and obviously we will include the local contractors in our programme.
What that means is that the scope of work will be reduced when we reach our point of agreement, but we have started.
In terms of timelines, I am saying within the next few weeks we should be on the ground. Just to start, $60 million has been released.
Government has taken a stand to dualise the road and that is what we will do; we will do it in phases but the ultimate goal is to dualise.
We have a programme and we have phased the implementation and we subdivided it into segments which contractors can play a role.
But that is detail to be finalised within the next few days.
The audit is now with the Auditor-General’s Office. It is a huge document. Implementation of the recommendations will be looked into.
We are in the process of setting up a new board at Zinara and the new board will be tasked with all these matters.
So I think within the next week we should have the board in place.
Most of these issues, the new board will have to take care of, including the issue of management and staffing.
Definitely, there is need for restructuring; this is why we want to make sure that there is a board that has integrity and able to meet this kind of challenge — making it an organisation that has integrity.
The corruption at VID is mainly because most of the processes there are done manually and there is too much human interface.
So we are putting up a computerised management system that will eliminate almost 70 percent corruption.
Very soon we will be introducing the learners drivers licence computerisation system.
Different candidates will not write the same question paper at the same time; they will be different papers in one sitting.
You go into a booth for seven minutes where there is a computer where you punch in your answers.
The computer does the marking and gives you your results there and you collect your provisional license.
The same computerisation will assist us because we are integrating with Zinara, ZRP and other stakeholders.
For instance, if your vehicle has been found to be defective, and you use it on the roads, the system allows us to see the history of the vehicle and link it to any other offences which you may have committed.
So, corruption is being wiped out through computerisation.
Then we are moving to the education part of it.
We need to make sure that driving schools are also standardised.
They cannot continue to be as basic as they are now, so there are going to be a lot of changes.
We will have these new standards and regulations in place soon.
For road test, the examiners will be picked at random through a computerised system to help deal with corruption.
That issue (of procurement of Government vehicles) has not been communicated to us but we know that Government has put a halt on this issue so that it can be planned properly.
Obviously there is need to support the local industry, but we will have to wait to get the proper position.
I will support local procurement of vehicles. Honourable Joe Biggie Matiza is the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development. He was speaking to The Sunday Mail’s Lincoln Towindo and Norman Muchemwa