The $120 million Gwayi-Shangani Dam, one of the national projects being undertaken under Zim-Asset, is expected to be completed in the next two years. The project started in 1912 and Government is keen to see its completion as it is key to the development of the Matabeleland region. Briefing Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko on the progress made towards the completion of the project at his Munhumutapa Offices last week, managing director of China International Water and Electric Corporation Mr E Shangfa said they expected to start construction of the dam wall early next year.
"Our company has been in Zimbabwe since 2000 and we started work in 2004. We have been facing financial challenges, but we now expect to finish the project in the next two years. We expect to do most of the work next year," he said.
Mr Shangfa promised to give VP Mphoko monthly progress reports on the project. He said their major setback was the unavailability of foreign currency to import parts for equipment. This year alone, Mr Shangfa said, they required between $8 million and $12 million to import equipment and to pay the project designer, Yellow River Consultancy of China. VP Mphoko urged the company to expedite the construction work, saying the project had taken longer to complete.
"That project started in 1912 and nobody has completed it. That project means a lot to the development of that region when finished. That is a national project and the President is following its development closely. The project is in his heart and he will be happy if you complete it. It is one project that is worrying him a lot," he said.
VP Mphoko took note of the challenges the company was facing and promised to look at them with a view to ensuring acceleration of the construction work. With a holding capacity of 635 million cubic metres of water, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be the largest water body in Matabeleland North province.
On completion, the dam, which is on the confluence of Gwayi and Shangani rivers, is expected to bring about socio-economic transformation for surrounding communities and other parts of the drought prone Matabeleland North province. The dam will also have the capacity to generate six megawatts of electricity. The resumption of work at the dam and its subsequent completion are among the key benchmarks Government set for the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster under Zim-Asset.