SA firm to fix Zimbabwean roads

Harare - Zimbabwe's capital Harare has agreed to sign a $400 million (R4.3 billion) deal with a South African company to upgrade its dilapidated road network, the state-owned Herald newspaper said on Monday.

The deal would be one of the largest infrastructure investments in a country shunned by Western governments and funding institutions such as the World Bank, because of its failure to repay billions of dollars of debt.

File photo: Kim Ludbrook. Credit: ING

Harare, whose affairs are run by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, would set up a joint venture firm, Harare Roads Development Company, with Neo Capital of South Africa to run the project for a period of 30 years, according to the Herald.

An official at Johannesburg-based Neo Capital said only the company's Chief Executive Vivien Natasen would give a response to the report, but he could not be reached by Reuters for a comment.

“Neo would contribute $400 million for the project. The Harare Roads Development Company would get its revenue from vehicle licence and billboard activities,” the Herald quoted minutes of a meeting of Harare's councillors as saying.

Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni and his top officials were out of the country and unavailable for comment.

President Robert Mugabe's cash-strapped government says it requires $27 billion - more than twice the size of its economy - to fund a five-year plan to improve basic services and rebuild the impoverished country's infrastructure.