SA construction firm eyes Matabeleland venture

SA construction firm eyes Matabeleland venture
Published: 21 January 2018 (192 Views)
A South Africa-based Zimbabwe-owned construction firm, ALW Team Investments (Private) Limited has expressed interest at channelling most of its investment into the country especially in the Matabeleland region.

The company's proprietor, Mr Timothy Mncube, last week acknowledged obtaining a certificate of incorporation from the Registrar of Companies to start operating a company in the country.

"Two weeks ago I was here in Zimbabwe to apply for my company, I waited for one week and I was very happy that Zimbabwe has truly changed, that was very quick and my company is ready," he said.

Before the implementation of the ease of doing business starting a business was cumbersome as nine procedures were required, taking 90 days and at a cost of 107 percent of per capita income. Comparatively, in South Africa it only takes 19 days to start a business and costs only 0,3 percent of per capita income.

The businessman, whose interest is property is looking forward to investing an initial $12 million in the country's construction, health and farming sectors.

"In Zimbabwe I was looking (at investing) mainly in construction-infrastructure and also in farming. The President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) emphasised a lot about farming. I am interested in farming. If I can get a farm tomorrow (anytime) I can start farming immediately," said Mr Mncube.

He, however, said the company's first priority would be to apply for a tender to see off the construction of the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road. The Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is probably one of the most deplorable highways in the country.

The road, whose reconstruction began in 1993 and was supposed to be completed by 1999, has been at the centre of debate over the structural underdevelopment of Matabeleland. Presently, less than 50km of the nearly 155km Bulawayo-Nkayi Road has been widened and resurfaced.

The state of Bulawayo-Nkayi Road has deteriorated drastically, making it difficult for local businesspeople to have their goods delivered smoothly. The road has become so bad that motorists spend the greater part of their journey negotiating their way around the potholes that seem to have become a permanent feature on the highway.

"The Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is a very problematic road. I would love to be given that tender. In my own perspective, the road will need about plus or minus 20 to 30 million rand (over $2 million). It's better to repair than to patch, fully repairing because resurfacing can't guarantee what is at the bottom," said Mr Mncube.

He said there was also a need to modernise the country's roads as well as improving emergence preparedness in the event of accidents.

"If anyone can be given a job to construct roads, on the roads we need to extract SOS telephones, maybe one kilometre away from each other whereby when there is an accident the one that would be alive can easily stand up and press the button easily and get help and ambulance crews come and assist those that are injured," said Mr Mncube.

SOS telephones or emergency telephones are commonly found alongside major roads throughout the world.

"If I am given a platform, I would really love to bring a lot of ambulances to start assisting the people of Zimbabwe. If I am giving that tender I need to purchase 50 to 100 ambulances to come and assist in our country. I'm very much ready to hit the ground running. At the present moment I am going into meetings with relevant ministers and various authorities in charge of the sectors I intend to invest in and we will take it up from there," said Mr Mncube.

He said if his projects come to fruition he was looking forward to employing between 500 to 1 000 people. Mr Mncube — who has been operating in South Africa for the past 27 years, is into construction of houses, shopping complexes, blocks of flats, soccer stadia, roads, and the provision of medical drugs, medical apparatus and ambulances and employs more than 150 in the neighbouring country.

He said the new political dispensation has brought confidence to a number of businesspeople in the Diaspora to come back and invest in the country.

"There are really a lot of Zimbabweans who want to come and invest back home. In my view I am seeing a great future for Zimbabwe and all Zimbabweans under this new dispensation. I have faith in the new President and I have faith in the new Cabinet that has been appointed by the President, I really see a great and bright future," said Mr Mncube.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said Mr Mncube's interests in constructing the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is a welcome development but there is a need for him to follow due procedure.

"There is a need for him to follow the appropriate process through an expression of interest to the Government and then write to the ministry and then we give him advice on how to go about it in terms of due diligence and financial closures. We don't block anyone intending to invest in the country but there is a need to follow laid down procedures," said Dr Gumbo.

Another South African tycoon Mr Robert Matana Gumede arrived in the country last week to cement a $1,2 billion investment deal in key sectors of the economy which include infrastructure development, energy, health services, tourism and financial services.

Mr Gumede - who is the founder and executive chairman of Guma Group — is an award-winning businessman and entrepreneur who is also the current co-chair of the South Africa-Russia Business Council, and was co-chair of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) Business Forum in China in 2011.

- Sunday News

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