The Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) plans to expand its investment beyond the $400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) deal by tapping into opportunities in other critical sectors of the economy.
The DIDG top executives, who were in Bulawayo this week for the handover of 108 wagons, seven locomotives and passenger coaches sourced from South Africa, said their visit has exposed their group to other investment interests in the country. The handover ceremony, which would be graced by President Mnangagwa, has since been postponed to next week Wednesday.
“The company (DIDG) is aiming to revive companies such as Dunlop, which are of great significance in the industry yet they are not functioning.
“We are also looking at investing in different infrastructures such as roads, electricity, agriculture and water amongst other infrastructures, which need revival,” said Mr Martin Ncube, one of the company’s executives.
The NRZ will, on Wednesday 21 February 2018, take delivery of equipment hired from South Africa as an interim measure to address resource gaps in its operations. President Mnangagwa will receive the equipment on behalf of the Government and the NRZ at a function scheduled for Bulawayo.
“The equipment, comprising 13 locomotives, 200 wagons and 34 coaches, is being leased from South African rail utility, Transnet, under a clause in the framework agreement recently signed between the NRZ and the Diaspora Investment Development Group (DIDG)/Transnet Consortium,” said the NRZ in statement yesterday.
Under that clause, DIDG/Transnet will hire out equipment for use by the NRZ while negotiations on the recapitalisation deal are finalised. The equipment will address resource gaps in NRZ operations as an interim solution, said the parastatal.
“So far, seven locomotives, 150 wagons and seven coaches have arrived in the country. The remainder of the equipment will be delivered in due course,” it said.
The DIDG/Transnet consortium won the bid to partner NRZ in the $400 million recapitalisation project. The project will involve the rehabilitation and renewal of plant, equipment, rolling stock, signaling and telecommunications infrastructure and the supporting information technology (IT) systems. The project will also see the repairing and rehabilitation of infrastructure and equipment such as locomotives, wagons and coaches as well as phased modernization of train control system.
Government has prioritized the resuscitation of rail infrastructure as one of the pillars of the Zimbabwean economy. Transnet and DIDGT will administer NRZ trains under a built operate transfer arrangement and will assist to raise freight capacity, operate maintain existing and new infrastructure as well as generate revenue.
On Wednesday the group donated basic commodities to Thembiso Children’s Home in Bulawayo where it also prepared lunch for them as part of its corporate social responsibility. The group has also partnered Harare municipality in fighting typhoid.