Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa today (25 February 2021) commissioned the Epping Forest Borehole Project to supply water to Bulawayo and also did ground breaking for the contstruction of the pipeline to link Bulawayo and the Gwayi-Shangani dam.
According to government sources “Work on the 260km Gwayi–Shangani water pipeline is expected to start soon as Government has already floated a tender for survey works. $4.5 billion has been allocated towards the Gwayi–Shangani project which is part of the National Matebeleland Zambezi Water Project #NDS1” posted the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting on Twitter.
The Ministry further explained that “Upon completion, the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline will benefit several irrigation schemes being set up between the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and Bulawayo. Surrounding communities will also have access to clean reliable safe water supply as well as employment opportunities.”
Government Spoekperson Nick Mangwana further reiterated what ZINWA said in the beginning of February 2021 that the Gwayi – Shangani dam will be completed in 2021 posting that “Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be commissioned in 2022- by ED Nick Mangwana” on his Twitter handle.
In his speech at the site, President Mnangagwa said the pipeline works contract will be given to local engineering companies.
This development comes 3 weeks after Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) mobilized Bulawayo residents to stage online protests on the right to water. The protests which run under #MondayWaterAction campaign have also targeted the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) where residents questioned why there is no progress on both the Epping Forest and Gwayi- Shangani pipeline.
MIHR will be monitoring the progress on the pipeline works in order to hold the government accountable on its mandate and its promises. MIHR will also be seeking to monitor incidences of corruption in the project.