Abigail Mawonde, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will next Wednesday commission the 108 wagons, seven locomotives and eight passenger coaches sourced from South Africa last week for the revival of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), a key parastatal in the drive to turn around the economy.
The revival of NRZ has started in earnest with the arrival of the first batch of locomotives, wagons and passenger coaches from South Africa on Saturday last week.
Another 92 wagons and six more locomotives will be delivered at the end of the month.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo confirmed the development in an interview with our Harare Bureau yesterday.
Initially, President Mnangagwa was expected to commission the locomotives, wagons and coaches this Friday but the event has been pushed to next week as he has other pressing commitments.
“His Excellency has other commitments and will now commission the wagons, locomotives and coaches on Wednesday next week. This is a big development for the National Railways of Zimbabwe. We must give it the recognition it deserves hence his Excellency will commission the wagons, locomotives and coaches,” said Minister Gumbo.
“We are happy as a ministry as this is one of the projects that fall within our 100-day target.”
Minister Gumbo said they were leasing the wagons, locomotovies and coaches.
He said the coming of the wagons, locomotives and coaches will change the fortunes of not only the NRZ but industry and the country at large.
“I hope industry, agriculture and the mining sector will be happy as well,” said Minister Gumbo.
The NRZ this week urged its employees to safeguard the wagons, locomotives and coaches.
In a memo to the employees on Monday, NRZ general manager Engineer Lewis Mukwada said: “It is envisaged that the additional plants and equipment will greatly ameliorate the current capacity challenges that the organisation is facing and will also contribute towards improved service delivery.”
“Members of staff are implored to embrace the equipment and to jealously safeguard against damage and mishandling.”
Meanwhile, the NRZ said it was advising all invited stakeholders to the NRZ Reception Ceremony for the interim solution to equipment which was pencilled for tomorrow that the event has been moved to next Wednesday, February 21.