from SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – THE demise of the railway link between South Africa and Zimbabwe has been to the detriment of the two countries and the entire Southern African region.
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) has decried the downfall of the rail route as a sad development as costs of transporting goods and service by road becomes expensive.
Chris Mutsvangwa, ZANU-PF spokesperson, said exporting or importing goods and services through neighbouring South Africa had become very expensive due to lack of rail.
“It’s rather cheaper exporting or importing goods and services through Mozambique,” Mutsvangwa said, speaking in the capital Harare, to journalists drawn from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc.
He said while Zimbabwe was doing more business with South Africa than any other SADC regional member state, trade ties were increasingly becoming unbearable owing to the absence of the railway line.
Zimbabwe and Mozambique boast the best railway line, connecting Mutare in Zimbabwe’s eastern Manicaland as well as Mozambique’s Beira and Maputo seaports through railway.
Rail travel between Harare (Zimbabwe) and the seaport of Beira (Mozambique) covers a distance of mere 559.8 km compared to the road link between Harare and Durban, which is 1689km.
It is in that sense the ZANU-PF spokesman noted the railway transport is widely seen as economical, quicker and best suited for carrying heavy and bulky goods over long distances.
Zimbabwe believes the railway network is the most dependable mode of transport as it is the least affected by weather conditions such as rains and fog as compared to other modes of transport.
The ZANU-PF also believes the railway transport has high speed over long distances while it’s better organised at the same time.
Mutsvangwa believes the railway is cheaper and boasts the safest form of transport in the sense the chances of accidents and breakdowns of railways are minimal as compared to other modes of transport.
Despite most of goods and services dome via road transport, Zimbabwe managed to export goods to South Africa worth $2.76 billion (about R52.44 billion) during the year 2022,
In return, South Africa’s exports to Zimbabwe were $3.22 billion (about R61.18 billion) during the year 2022.
– CAJ News