THE Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) has started erecting a 162km fence along the Gweru-Bulawayo Highway at a cost of $400 000 in a bid to eliminate accidents caused mainly by stray animals.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Mr Munesu Munodawafa, launched the project in Gweru on Monday.
Mr Munodawafa said this was a pilot project that is expected to be concluded by the end of next month.
“We are starting this project in Gweru where we are going to fence both sides of the highway up to Bulawayo, a project that is going to cost $400 000. The project should be done by end of November and we will move to other areas. Close to 150 youths will be engaged from communities along the highway to erect the fence,” he said.
“We call upon the people to desist from vandalising the fence, to desist from cutting it down to make traps or fence their fowl runs, such elements will be prosecuted. The fence protects both humans and animals,” he said.
TSCZ Managing Director Mr Obio Chinyere said the programme was part of ZimAsset’s initiative to develop infrastructure.
He said high ranking government officials as well as ordinary citizens have lost their lives in road accidents involving animals.
After the launch in Gweru, Mr Munodawafa went to Insiza where the project is also being implemented. He said a number of people have been employed and placed in three groups.
One group will work from Gweru to Insiza, the other one from Insiza to Mbembesi and the last one from Mbembesi to Fairbridge.
“The programme has created employment for villagers in Matabeleland South. They earn $18 per day and uniforms have been provided for them.
We have employed 30 people (in each group) and we are expecting to double our numbers to make it possible to meet our deadline,” said Mr Munodawafa.
“The inclusion of villagers was decided after it was realised that this area originally had a fence but it was vandalised. Having the villagers to be part of the programme will ensure that they will have a sense of ownership and they will guard the fence. We also talked to chiefs and urged them to look after the fence.” Chronicle