Prince Sunduzani Bulawayo Bureau
THE ongoing price hikes have stalled the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ)’s highway fencing project, prompting Government to give the parastatal the green light to import the required materials directly from South Africa. The TSCZ, a parastatal under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, embarked on a project to fence off the country’s highways last year, as part of measures to reduce accidents on the country’s roads caused by stray animals.
Speaking at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development strategic planning workshop on Monday, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr Joram Gumbo, said changes in fencing material prices were crippling the programme. He said suppliers were inflating prices by up to 400 percent, a development that has also seen prices of basic commodities being unjustifiably hiked since September.
The minister urged the TSCZ board chaired by Mr Albert Mugabe to speed up the perimeter fencing project, after Government gave it the green light to import materials directly from South Africa. “I know that chairman and your management, you have been impeded by the change in prices for your project.
“Cabinet met last week and agreed that where we cannot produce some products which will then end up being imported from South Africa by some middlemen who end up selling to us with a 400 percent mark up, you are also free now to buy from South Africa so as to tame the price madness in industry that has proven to be insensitive to our situation,” he said.
“So Mr Mugabe and your team you can now buy directly some of the barbed wire from South Africa so that you can continue with your very important project of perimeter fencing along most of our roads.” The minister hailed the council for its road safety campaigns which he said had reduced accidents on the country’s roads.
The highway fencing programme started with the erection of the Bulawayo-Gweru Highway perimeter fence. In August, the TSCZ said it would erect a perimeter fence on either side of the Bulawayo-Plumtree road by the end of this year at an estimated cost of $320 000.