14 March 2018

Mozambique: Maputo Ring Road Still Not Complete

Maputo — The public company Maputo-Sul has no money to complete the Maputo Ring Road, its chairperson, Silva Magaia, admitted in an interview with the independent television station STV.

The final section of the Ring Road is section six, which should link the ring road to the Maputo-South Africa motorway (EN4). This is held up, Magaia said, because Maputo-Sul does not have the funds to resettle about 500 households in the outer Maputo neighbourhood of Luis Cabral through which section six will run.

The road is being built with 300 million US dollars from the Exim Bank of China. But under the contract, the contractor, the China Road and Bridges Corporation (CRBC), is not responsible for moving people or demolishing structures that are in the way of the road. That is the Mozambican government's responsibility, Magaia explained.

He said Maputo-Sul is not prepared to throw people out of their current homes if it has nowhere else to put them. “It makes no sense for us to begin moving people, if we don't have the resources to give them living conditions in the places where they will be transferred”, he said. He did not estimate how much moving the 500 households will cost.

Furthermore, work on the Tchumene junction that should ensure access to EN4 from the Ring Road is paralysed because it has not yet been approved by the South African company TRAC, which operates the EN4 motorway.

“We submitted the project for approval, there were comments, these were solved, we submitted it again in the middle of last year, and we still don't have a final approval”, said Magaia.

For these reasons, Magaia found it impossible to give any date for concluding the Ring Road.

Most of the Ring Road has been completed and is in operation, and traffic along the completed sections should be an obvious source of income for Maputo-Sul. The Ring Road was designed as a toll road - yet to date not a single toll gate has been built. Motorists are using the road free of charge, and Maputo-Sul receives no money at all.

Magaia said the situation would be even worse but for the fact that the same contractor, CRBC, is building both the Ring Road and the suspension bridge across the Bay of Maputo.

“If it were not for this coincidence, we would be having major problems with the Ring Road project”, said Magaia. “We would now be having discussions with the contractor about the losses it was suffering by keeping camps and work yards here that should have been deactivated and demobilised”.

As for the bridge across the bay, linking central Maputo to the outlying district of Katembe, Magaia was hopeful that the work could be completed in late April, allowing the bridge to be opened to traffic in May.

Bu that is still about five months late. The delay on the bridge was caused by the refusal of sellers at the informal Nwankakana informal market to move: they were blocking the northern access road to the bridge. Although their presence was illegal, the Maputo City Council refused to evict them, and eventually Maputo-Sul had to pay them compensation (the exact amount has not been revealed).

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