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High Level Indaba for Gwayi-Shangani | The Chronicle

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The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, columnist
A HIGH LEVEL inter-ministerial indaba will be held in Hwange this Friday to assess progress and assess the impact of the construction of the giant Gwayi-Shangani Lake, which is due to be completed next month.

The huge body of water is nearly 70% complete and is expected to permanently solve Bulawayo’s water supply problems and turn the entire Matabeleland region into a green belt.

The project is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP), a century-old dream first hinted at in 1912, but only the government of President Mnangagwa is making it a reality.

Construction works at Lake Gwayi-Shangani in the province of Matabeleland North

The government has set the end of next month as the deadline for completion and commissioning should be done before the end of the year. When completed, Lake Gwayi-Shangani will provide Bulawayo residents with 450ml of water per day, three times what the city needs.

A vast expanse of irrigable land covering 10,000 hectares along the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline has since been identified.

Crews are already on the ground digging and laying the 245 km Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline and around 500 residents are involved in the construction of the dam.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, invited the Vice President, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, in his capacity as Minister of Health and Child Protection, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo, National Minister of Housing and Social Amenities Daniel Garwe and Minister of environment, climate, tourism and hospitality Nqobizitha Ndlovu to attend the inter-ministerial indaba on Friday.

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka

He also invited Minister of Energy and Electricity Development, Zhemu Soda, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr. Evelyn Ndlovu, Minister of Higher and Higher Education, Innovation , Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando, Transport and Infrastructure Development. Minister Felix Mhona, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo and his Bulawayo counterpart Judith Ncube.

Dr. Masuka also invited Bulawayo City Clerk, Mr. Christopher Dube to attend the crucial meeting.

Bulawayo City Clerk, Mr. Christopher Dube

“This meeting will give us the opportunity to get updates on the progress of the holistic elements of the project covering dam construction, power generation, irrigation development, fisheries, Gwayi pipeline- Shangani-Bulawayo, Resettlement and Compensation of Displaced Farmers,” reads Dr Masuka’s invitation. letter dated May 27, 2022 seen by Chronicle.

He said the meeting will conclude with a visit to assess the progress of each of the identified elements of the project.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Decentralization Minister Moyo, who said he had not yet received the invitation, said the meeting of various government ministers was essential to ensure the bottlenecks of bottlenecks affecting the project are resolved.

“It will be important because when we come together, then we can come up with resolutions that can address all the challenges affecting the construction of the dam,” he said.

Plans are underway to set up a 10 megawatt hydroelectric plant, which will feed into the national grid.

The government has announced that it will build mini-hydropower plants on all dams under construction.

Irrigation projects to be implemented along the pipeline to Bulawayo will boost food production in Matabeleland North, thereby improving national food security.

The dam project is expected to leave a legacy of knowledge transfer and creation of new industries at the dam site. China International Water and Electric Corp, which is building the dam, is expected to transfer its knowledge and skills to locals working on the site.

The company has established a steel pipe workshop at the site and as such no longer imports pipes, saving foreign exchange.

The production of the steel tubes will continue even after the completion of the construction of the dam.

The contractors also established a quarry plant which can again continue to produce the quarry after the dam construction is completed and these material production activities have significantly reduced the dam construction costs. — @nqotshili