Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Saturday urged the population of the southernmost district of Matutuine to take good care of the connecting roads that link the district to the new suspension bridge over the Bay of Maputo.
Nyusi inaugurated both the bridge and the connecting roads on Saturday. They are both part of the same project, costing 785.8 million US dollars, 95 per cent of which is financed by the Chinese Exim Bank.
Speaking in the resort of Ponta de Ouro, on the border with the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal, Nyusi told his listeners "This road is yours, it's been built with your taxes. I want to ask all of you to take good care of it so that it can really contribute to the development of the country".
He urged the crowd not to cultivate close to the road - otherwise in the rainy season (which has already begun), mud will be swept onto the road. No houses should be built near the road either, he warned, and a considerable space should be left clear along the sides of the road for future projects.
Nyusi said his government is committed to solving the real problems that affect the daily lives of Mozambicans - but scarcity of resources meant that priorities had to be chosen, in order to respond gradually to the challenges facing the country.
"Our commitment to the people is clear", he added. "Today it was this road, and tomorrow we shall advance to other places. Right now we are building various infrastructures which can improve the mobility of people and goods".
Examples of projects under way are the complete rehabilitation of the road from Beira to Zimbabwe (which is over 90 per cent complete), the road between Tica and Buzi in Sofala, and the road between Cuamba and Lichinga, the two main urban centres in the northernmost province of Niassa.
Nyusi urged the motorists who will use the connecting roads to avoid traffic accidents, because "the government built this infrastructure to facilitate the lives of citizens and not to cause deaths. We don't want blood on the roads. Motorists should not exceed the speed limit, and should not drive under the influence of alcohol, since this causes accidents".
Speaking after the inauguration, the Maputo provincial governor, Raimundo Diomba, said the bridge and its connecting roads open good prospects for the development of the entire southern part of the province.
A new development era was beginning for Matutuine, he said, and some new, large scale undertakings were already being erected along the road. In their wake would come demands for more schools and health units. "These must be regarded as a priority for Matutuine in the near future", said the governor.
The head of the fiscal post at the Ponta de Ouro border, Januario Zanete, told AIM that, with the new road, the flow of tourists over the border was bound to increase, particularly with the approach of the 2018-2019 festive season. More customs and immigration staff would be needed at Ponta de Ouro, and the border post would have to stay open for longer hours.
He expected some people who used to travel from South Africa into Mozambique using the Ressano Garcia/Lebombo crossing and the road from Ressano Garcia to Maputo, would now switch to Ponta de Ouro and reach Maputo over the bridge.