Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor THE Gwayi-Shangani water project, which is expected to transform the water situation in Bulawayo, is moving ahead well as work on the pipeline has started, President Mnangagwa has said.
Critically, the first batch of pipes to be used in conveying water to Bulawayo from the Lake Gwayi-Shangani are expected to arrive by Friday, at the latest, from South Africa.
In his weekly article published in The Sunday Mail yesterday, the President said: “Bulawayo’s future is growing more secure by the day. The water challenges which dogged it from its inception as a sprawling town and city will resolved soon.
“The Government is chasing a very tight timeline to ensure Bulawayo’s thirst is permanently slacked by end of this year. Gwayi-Shangani Lake is on course to completion.
“Work on the over 270-kilometre pipeline which is set to deliver abundant water to Bulawayo City has begun. Once done, the pipeline will green several agricultural projects along the way.”
Due to the importance of the water project, a team from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and a representative from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, were dispatched to South Africa last week to assess progress on the manufacture of the glass fibre reinforced polyester pipes (GRP) being made by Flowtite South Africa.
The company, which is based in Germiston, entered into a US$50 million contract with Zinwa for the manufacture of the water pipes.
During a tour of the company, the Zimbabwe delegation was shown the manufacturing process of the GRP pipes from the point of raw materials, the rigorous testing process to eliminate leaks, up to the testing in the laboratory where a 1,25 tonne weight was placed on top of a finished pipe and withstood the pressure.
The Zinwa officials were happy with the quality of pipes being produced and the company was busy over the weekend continuing with the production of the pipes.
In a telephone interview from his Germiston base yesterday, Flowtite South Africa managing director Mr Bantu Mselana said they were looking to deliver the first batch of pipes towards end of this week.
“We are looking at possibly Thursday or Friday. I am with my team at the moment to see how we can go about the issue,” said Mr Mselana.
“We are considering bringing the pipes and displaying some at the Fair (Zimbabwe International Trade Fair) in Bulawayo.”
Earlier tests done on the GRP pipes have shown that they can last for 50 years, but retests done in Norway at their technology centre have shown that the pipes can go for 150 years.
Flowtite says it is the only company in Sub-Saharan Africa that manufactures GRP pipes, and supplies them in nominal diameters ranging from DN100 up to DN4000, and in various stiffness classes starting at 2 500 N/m².
Mr Mselana has indicated that they have the experience and capacity to deliver on the contract they entered into with Zinwa.
The company has so far done business in Eswatini, South Africa, Malawi and Kenya.
Completion of the Gwayi-Shangani water project, which was initiated in 1912, is being prioritised by the Second Republic due to its immense potential in ensuring steady supplies of water to Bulawayo residents, while also allowing farmers along the way to irrigate their crops.
President Mnangagwa has indicated that his administration will not tolerate a situation where projects are started but never completed.
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