Residents of Sinazongwe district in Southern Province have called on government to quickly work on the Maamba-Batoka road which is currently in a deplorable state.
The residents have bemoaned the delay in timely delivery of services within the district and beyond as well as hampering economic progress in the area due to the poor state of the road.
Maamba Collieries Limited Development Trust Manager, Jethro Sikalunda, says the road needs urgent attention from the relevant authorities, stating that the company is currently not able to transport heavy duty machinery for their mining operations due to the bad state of the road.
“Our trucks are not able to bring in heavy duty machinery into our thermal plant for our mining operations, due to the bad state of the roads,” Mr Sikalunda explained.
He noted that the bad state of the road has over time resulted in delay of delivery time of services, saying the trucks are subjected to spend a longer time on the road, in order to avoid wear and tear.
Mr Sikalunda however, said the company is assisting in patching up some selected parts of the road, through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), adding that this has become difficult over time, with the road now needing a general overhaul.
“The current state of the road needs proper workmanship, as it now becomes impassable during the rainy season, with trucks being marooned in one place for a number of days. We are now appealing that our plight is urgently looked into,” he appealed.
And some truck drivers expressed concern with the delay to work on such an important economic road, which is endowed with various mining companies.
The truck drivers narrated that they now spend close to four hours on a stretch of about 80 kilometres, when the initial time is only an hour.
One of the drivers, Misheck Mungoshi explained that though they are subjected to driving on the bad road, which causes wear and tire to their vehicles, but have continued to work, though with multiple delays.
“The road is bad, but we have continued to work because we need to fend for our families. We now have to be very careful and alert, to avoid any sanctions from our superiors for damaging the vehicles,” Mr Mungoshi narrated.
Another driver, Repeem Kalongo, said delivery time has really been affected resulting in some clients seeking services from other companies, saying the trucks are spending more time on the road, especially when there is a heavy downpour.
“When we experience a heavy downpour in the area, we park the trucks for even three days, so that the road clears and is passable again,” he said.
Some sections of the Maamba-Batoka road have been patched with large stones, to help moving vehicles seek passage through the bad stretch of the road.