ED COMMISSIONS NRZ EQUIPMENT
President Mnangagwa now witnessing the signing of the agreement between the parties…
12:58 – President Mnangagwa speaks…“The other day VP Mohadi whispered to me that he wants to be President I told him the tricks – 1. Be sentenced to death and survive, 2. Be poisoned and still survive, 3. Be subjected to 9 youth interfaces and survive and three be a border jumper and survive.
“I am excited by this project as this will go a long way in addressing key resources gaps while negotiations are still ongoing. This will go a long way in seeing this city regain its status as the country’s industrial hub which will also go a long way in enhancing the country’s economic competitiveness.
An effective railway system will see us reduce the cost of landing our goods in various countries. The Sadc industrialisation road map identified the enhancing of our rail infrastructure in boosting regional trade.
“My government is committed in ensuring the recapitalisation and modernisation of our railway system. A rejuvenated railway system will not only benefit Zimbabwe but other countries in the region especially those on the north of us. Comprehensive strategies have been put in place to revive our transporting sector. Our road and railway system must be
complimentary. The current situation where our roads are moving bulk cargo must not be encouraged as this damages our road infrastructure therefore we must move towards the revival of our rail system so as to move cargo to to railway.
“The speed we address challenges in our transport and Infrastructure must be expedited to be en-sync with our mantra that Zimbabwe is open for Business. I would like to commend the partners in this deal, the timing of this project is most opportune and shows confidence in the future of this our country. The realisation of this project will not only benefit industry but will also improve NRZ passenger train schedule. My government will continue to support the restoration of the NRZ. I call upon the partners to move swiftly in concluding the deal and come up with a win-win agreement…
“To the workers I am fully aware of the problems you are facing in terms of salaries. Your minister has pleaded with you continuously and I must assure you that we will attend to your current challenges. Please let us all support this project. I thank you all,” President Mnangagwa wraps up his speech.
12:40 – “President ED is a man born of the liberation struggle, during federation he went to northern Rhodesia, educated there and even started politics there. He is one of the first people in the 1960s to receive military training to come and liberate our nation. Due to his political activity he was at one point sentenced to death by the colonial government but was saved from the gallows because of his age.
“This our President is a very strong man, if you remember he survived nine grueling interface rallies. He would actually clap and shake the hands of the people who were demonising him, it takes a man of stature to do that. Along this course at one point he got a threat to his life, which resulted in him crOssing the border, which he prefers calling border jumping.
However one thing I can tell you is that he is a tried and tested leader and I am confident that he will steer us from the problems which we are all facing in the country.”
12:22 – VP Mohadi about to take to the podium to introduce President Mnangagwa…
12:20 – South Africa Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi is now on the podium…
“I bring greetings from President Cyril Ramaphosa. In his SONA President Ramaphosa said we will be coming together with the world to celebrate President Mandela’s birthday.
We dedicate our visit today to Madiba and his long standing vision of strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe. If you remember Madiba and former President Mugabe came together to construct Beitbridge. We are now working round the clock in having a one stop border post. We are also working on the aviation side to increase
flights between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“I enjoy a good working condition with Zimbabwe Transport Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo and I am confident that we will go along way in improving bilateral relations with the Zimbabwe government especially in the transport industry. With the project we are unveiling today, we hope it will go a long way in improving regional rail network in the region and harmonising the safe movement of freight and passengers in the region. It will also play a
pivotal role in improving regional integration and further regionalisation in the two countries.”
12:02 – Transport Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo now giving his remarks…
“The recapitalisation of NRZ is long overdue as it was operating using equipment that is not economically sustainable. The journey to revive NRZ has taken a long time but has been eventually fruitful, this is evidenced by the function which we are attending today. The situation on ground really requires an urgent solution as we all know that our rail system goes a long way in reviving our economy as a whole.
“Today we are unveiling part of the equipment but by the end of April we will have received all the other equipment. It is the time to awaken our railway giant…..this is the new dispensation.”
11:45 – Transnet representative Mr Patrius Fusi now addressing delegates…
“We are excited of this relationship that we have forged with NRZ. We are coming up with a geographical strategy especially at enhancing our presence in the continent. We want to be in the forefront of regional integration to help improve cross-border trade. Partnership are important in moving our growth forward.
“This event shows that we are acting rather than talking. We are pleased that we are contributing to Zimbabwe’s programme of action.We are with you as we embark on this journey that we have started. ”
11:41 – NRZ board chairman Mr Larry Mavhima takes to the stand…
“Our once proud NRZ had been reduced to a pale shadow of its former self. We no longer lived up to our motto, ‘We move the nation’, which was really worrying. Last year we began our first step in the recapitalisation project of our railways through the invitation of partners to work with on this massive project. We are happy that we are eventually witnessing the fruition of our dreams.
“We are showing all that we took heed of the President’s remarks that Zimbabwe is now open for business. Today we announce that we cease to become a problem child as we will be moving the nation to a brighter future.
11:20 – Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe Mr Tafadzwa Musarara has the microphone…
“As millers we are a transport reliant business. It is our conviction that rail transport will always be cheaper. Milling industry cannot be wholly reliant on the road infrastructure. NRZ service delivery impacts on food prices and services delivery in the country. I would like to commend the President’s Solomonic leadership as it is clear that Zimbabwe is ready for business,” he concludes his brief speech.
11:15 – DIDG representative Mr D Chimandanda now giving his remarks…
“As I stand here we say diaspora is ready to help revive our country and we have vowed to help increase diaspora investment. As recent as last week we started we working with our diaspora colleagues in North America. We believe in reviving such infrastructure as rail will go along way in making it cheaper to do business in Zimbabwe. We are grateful for the support we have got from the government.
“To my fellow colleagues in the diaspora let us stop being critics fr0m the sidelines and come support our country. There is no task which is insurmountable, we will revive our NRZ,” he says.
11:00 – NRZ Manager Engineer Lewis Mukwada now on the podium…
“To us today marks another milestone in our journey to revive our country’s railway infrastructure. Our vision is to restore the capacity in which our railways was associated with back in the day. This equipment is to close the gap while we continue negotiations so that we get financial closure as we realised we were losing business as negotiations
“Part of these trains will target our chrome market where we expect a net profit of $1.1 million monthly after payment of our lease fee.
This is a very significant step as we were failing to meet our targets but we will now manage to get the foreign currency we were losing because of our capacity constraints,” he concludes his remarks.
10:50 – “I applaud the spirit of cooperation between the NRZ and its partners. Together we are going to face all challenges and succeed. My offices is always open to render any services required. I want to say to the people of Bulawayo that things are happening and they should be part of things that are happening and not those that have not happened. I want to say to everyone feel at work not just at home. There is no hour to feel at hme but at work because life comes from work not just slumbering.”
10:43 – “Despite the problems faced by NRZ it has remained a pillar of development in the city especially in its support of downstream industries within the city.”
10:36 – Bulawayo Minister of State Cde Angeline Masuku now giving the welcome remarks.
“I am here to welcome uBaba uPresident to this beautiful city of Queens and Kings. We feel greatly honoured to play host to this unique and historic ceremony. Not only am I enthralled by your presence but I am excited by the prospects of a revived rail system that will go a long way in reviving other industries in the city and country as a whole.”
10:26 – President ED is being accompanied by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo and Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha among top government officials.
President Mnangagwa is today expected to preside over the reception ceremony for interim solution equipment under the National Railways of Zimbabwe recapitalisation and signing of the framework agreement between NRZ and Transnet.
Last July, NRZ identified DIDG/Transnet consortium as a suitable investor to recapitalise the parastatal. The two parties are expected to reach financial closure for the $400 million NRZ recapitalisation deal by mid-year.
The $400 million recapitalisation project involves the rehabilitation and renewal of plant, equipment, rolling stock, signaling and telecommunications infrastructure and the supporting information technology systems. It is also hoped that the project will see the repairing and rehabilitation of infrastructure and equipment such as locomotives, wagons and coaches as well as phased modernisation of train control system.
Over the years, concerns have been raised by different stakeholders that long-haul road freight was damaging Zimbabwe’s road network as well as causing congestion at border posts.
Today the equipment that will be unveiled comprises 13 locomotives, 200 wagons and 34 coaches and is being leased from South African rail utility, Transnet, under a clause in the framework agreement between NRZ and the Diaspora Investment Development Group (DIDG)/Transnet Consortium.