Motorists who ply the Kwekwe-Gokwe highway, together with the Mapfungautsi and Sasame residents have raised concerns over a landslide that is taking its toe towards the road and can be exacerbated by the rains and cost lives in Gokwe if the challenge is not addressed urgently.
Mapfungautsi and Sasame depression is one of the most dangerous steep terrain cutting Gokwe-Kwekwe highway and may result in a serious road landslide as the situation has reached another difficult level. During the rainy season water flows from Mapfungautsi location passing Sasame location and into Sasame River through this terrain. Urgent action is required to fix the landslide which might continue to collapse towards the Gokwe-Kwekwe highway.
Speaking with this reporter, Robeto Mungwanzi a Sasame resident said our homes are at great risk of collapsing and cost of lives due to the road landslide open pit that continues to erode towards the highway. The state of road cracks is now threating and that needs an urgent attention from the high authorities before it gets worse.
“Gokwe town Council (GTC) cannot stand alone to end this dangerous natural disaster hence other departments like DDF (District development Fund), and government itself must intervene. GTC is trying their best but the problem is persisting and at the end it is us people of Gokwe who will suffer most if we remain quite about the matter,” he added.
Shingai Mupedzi a Sasame resident very close to the depression said that at one time he almost moved to new Mapfungautsi location after seeing the visible cracking line that cuts the road.
“We are not certain with pit sand, stones and logs filled in the gullie by GTC as a permanent solution as we all know that if rain comes everything will be washed away as what happened this year. I think there is a need for professional engineers to come up with best ways to prevent the ongoing crack that cuts the busiest road. This road as we all know links Gokwe and other towns where basic goods are transported,” she added.
Clemency Mhoya an environmentalist said that where roads and highways cross steep terrain, it is important to ensure that the stability of road cuts and road embankments is ensured. He further stated that it is required to divert flow of water from slopes such that the roads will not be obstructed the water flow.
“Natural landslides may also be present and may cause instability of the road itself, road cuts, and embankments. Consequences of instable road cuts and embankments may be failure of the road, maybe dangerous to buildings, and may make the road unusable. It is required to have engineering geological and geotechnical engineering skills, and have a basic knowledge of road engineering in order to be able to analyze the implications of roads crossing steep terrain. In steep terrain roads may be affected by various processes related to flash floods and natural slope stability like what is happening at the depression at Sasame River,” said Mhoya.
Councilor Tichaona Mukoora of Sasame Ward 6 said it is hard to fight against nature but as GTC they are aware of the situation and will be addressing the problem soon.
“There is need for professional engineers funded and hired by the government to work with us to mitigate this unstable road landslide to occur at Sasame depression. We need to come up with a strategic plan as councilors from the local level, and working together. The whole Sasame residents are at bigger risks as most of them are settled at the steep terrain, and not far from Sasame river banks. Their lives matters to us, we also urged them to work together with us as GTC to end this tragedy in our hands,” he added.
There is need for determination mitigation measures from the local authorities and the government for the future stability of road cuts and embankments along Gokwe-Kwekwe road before it becomes costly to fix the problem and even more before lives are lost.