By Blessings Chidakwa and Sallomy Matare
President Mnangagwa yesterday said all was now in place for the commissioning of the second batch of Zupco buses as his Government mitigates transport challenges in the country.
At least 47 new buses that were acquired from South Africa and China are expected to be commissioned.
The Head of State and Government said he would next week be despatching the new buses, saying modern transport infrastructure is a key enabler in the transformation of the economy.
Addressing Rural District Councils chairpersons at Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the majority of the buses will be allocated to urban centres.
“To mitigate the transport challenges faced by our communities, my Government is presently capacitating Zupco. We have just begun bringing in buses into the country and we are going to have many buses coming in.
“Currently, we have a number that has come in and next week or so, I should be launching another set of buses that have come in. I have to allow them all to be in and I believe that by next week this next second phase will be in, then we launch them,” he said.
The President further said: “The majority will be in urban areas and some will go to the rural areas. On the third phase, more will go to rural areas and few in urban areas.
“By the time that scheme is over — 200 buses from South Africa, 500 from Belarus and 1 000 from China — I have no doubt that we would have done a lot to ameliorate challenges of transport in the country and will be providing cheaper transport.”
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo recently said they had made special arrangements in the case of the Belarus buses where they sent designs which suit the local terrain.
He said Belarus would then send kits, which will be assembled in the country, creating employment opportunities for locals.
The special arrangement for Belarus to supply Zimbabwe with buses was reached during President Mnangagwa’s State visit to Minsk in January.
Zupco has 380 buses servicing both rural and urban areas, of which 221 were contributed by the private sector.
Harare is serviced by 194 buses, while Bulawayo the country’s second largest city has 76. Mutare has 34, Masvingo 13, while Gweru has eight and Chinhoyi two buses.
Source : The Herald