A week-long nightmare for travellers between Bulawayo and Masvingo ended on Friday after villagers repaired an old bridge on the highway after floods had swept away Nkankezi bridge in Filabusi.
By Luyanduhlobo Makwati
Nkankezi bridge crumbled after incessant rains hit the country in the past couple of weeks.
Villagers in the area said life had become unbearable, as there were people sleeping on both ends of the bridge awaiting transport.
Touts had camped in the area while women from nearby areas were selling various food stuffs to stranded passengers.
The area resembles a border post, as enterprising people move goods across the river through various ways.
Munyaradzi Ncube said people had camped at the bridge while some brought their vehicles, making brisk business from stranded passengers.
“It is painful that these passengers did not have an option and they were now acting according to the demands of these touts,” he said.
“A bus would not leave as expected and at times passengers were forced to sleep at the bridge.
“There are no toilets and we need makeshift facilities that will assist us at the moment because the situation as it is, is pathetic; and here you are dealing with adults and you should expect anything,” he said.
Insiza North MP Andrew Langa said it was unfortunate that the link between Bulawayo, Zvishavane and Masvingo was seriously damaged, disrupting the business activities in the region.
“It is disturbing that one of our major routes in this region has been seriously damaged due to the rains and this has crippled our business activities. We are working hard to make sure that the situation returns to normalcy,” he said.
Langa said he was happy villagers had taken it upon themselves to repair the old bridge and offer travellers temporary relief.
“Villagers are assisting by picking up stones from surrounding areas and the ministry workers are using their expertise to cover the gap,” he said.
The government last week said it was looking for at least $100 million to repair infrastructure damaged by floods and the Nkankezi bridge is one of the priority areas.