THE Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) has exhausted the $500 million it was allocated by government in the last budget although the project has not ta
ken off the ground, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
The $500 million allocation is the largest amount government has injected into the water project since the launch of the trust in 1998. The project is forecast to cost $30 billion.
Rural Resources and Water Development minister Joyce Mujuru confirmed at a meeting of traditional and political leaders in Bulawayo last weekend that the MZWT had exhausted its allocation and that her ministry had applied for more funds from the government.
“Most of the funds the MZWT was allocated for the project this year have been spent and we have already applied for an additional $1,5 billion in the supplementary budget,” Mujuru said.
The supplementary budget was presented to parliament yesterday. There was no specific mention of the MZWT.
Mujuru said the $500m was spent on constructing a 12-km access road and houses to accommodate workers at the project site.
Sources close to the operations of the MZWT told the Independent most of the $500 million allocated to the trust was spent on general administration work while spending on the actual project was minimal.
“The bulk of the money was used to finance trips by senior MZWT staff to Malaysia,” said the source. MZWT chairman Dumiso Dabengwa said he would only discuss the MZWT issue next week.
Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said council had no information on developments at the MZWT.
“Council, which is supposed to be the main implementer of the project, is not aware of any developments at the moment,” said Ndabeni-Ncube.
“The government and the MZWT are the people who know best what is going on.”
The government, through the MZWT and a Malaysian company, Zimmal, have pledged to finance the whole project to pipe water from the Zambezi River to the city of Bulawayo, 450 km away.
But the future of the project is still uncertain as nothing has been done despite numerous promises that work would start soon.