ACTING President Inonge Wina has called for the speedy construction of Kazungula Bridge across Zambezi River to decongest the border and stimulate economic activities in Southern Africa and beyond.
Zambia and Botswana Governments are currently implementing the US$ 161, 961, 304.84 Kazungula Bridge project while Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company Limited of South Korea is the contractor.
Ms Wina, who is Republican Vice President, said bridge would be very important to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional grouping and beyond.
She was speaking in Kazungula District yesterday after she inspected the construction works at the Border.
Ms Wina also inspected various infrastructural projects currently under construction namely the district hospital, civic centre, post office, police station and houses and district administration block among others.
She also met Senior Chief Sekute of Kazungula District and pupils at Kazungula Secondary School where she encouraged the traditional leader to work closely with investors to develop the chiefdom.
“We are very anxious to see the project complete. Sometimes there is congestion at the bridge because of the usage of pontoons.
“We look forward to the early completion of the Bridge. We want to be surprised that instead of completing the Bridge by December 2018 as planned, it should be completed much earlier. Do your work and do it well. At the end of the day, we will congratulate engineers from Zambia and Botswana for putting up a wonderful infrastructure,” Ms Wina said.
Kazungula Bridge Project Team Leader Kabamelo Kgoboko said works a temporal Bridge had been completed on the Zambian side.
Mr Kgoboko said about 476 people had been employed by the end of January 2016 out of which 405 were local people from both Zambia and Zimbabwe while 71 were foreign nationals.
“The 324 metres temporal Bridge is all complete on the Zambian side (and same length of temporal bridge will be done on the Botswana side.
“Works on the permanent Bridge will start on the Zambian side and will be completed on the Botswana side. We have been on the project for 17 months and we anticipate completing in December 2018,” Mr Kgoboko said.
He also dismissed claims suggesting that some Zambian workers on the bridge project retrenched.
And speaking when she paid a curtesy call on Kazungula District Commissioner Pascalina Musokotwaane, Ms Wina said President Edgar Lungu considered Kazungula as an economic district.
She said the District was positioned very strategically at the entrance of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.
“This is a key district in SADC and Government has decided to accelerate development especially in infrastructure in Kazungula so that the services to the people are enhanced.
“It is a pity that Kazungula was created 15 years ago and nothing was done over the years until PF came into office in 2011. We want to decentralise and take services to the people and create specific areas for development. Zambia will be a different place five to 10 years from now with new developments taking place in the country especially here in Kazungula,” she said.
Ms Wina was disheartened to see that the District Commissioner and other heads of departments were operating in a prefab building.
“I salute the civil servants appointed to rural areas because they have continued to serve their country even under difficult conditions by living in the bush,” Ms Wina said.
And speaking at the same function, Ms Musokotwane thanked the PF Government for implementing a number of infrastructural developments since 2011.