By SAM PHIRI In Kasane Botswana –
WORKS on the multi-million dollar Kazungula Bridge being funded by Zambia and Botswana has progressed with phase-one almost complete.
An unintended result of the multi-million dollar project and the long queues of trucks it has spawned has been the increase in sex workers targeting drivers with little to do as they wait to be processed.
The 923-metre long bridge that was initially slated to be completed by June next year, has seen its completion date pushed back to December 2019.
Project consultant Michael Lear said the most encouraging thing about the works was the steady cash flow which was good for the contractor.
“The funding is adequate and we do not have any hindrances now except during the initial stages when we had to take time sorting out some technical issues pertaining to the type of concrete to be used for erecting pillars,” Mr Lear said.
Mr Lear also explained that the bridge was designed to curve away from the Zimbabwe water boundary as Harare was initially not part of the project.
The Kazungula bridge project is said to have employed over 1, 200 people, with more than 700 of them coming from the Zambian side.
However, sex workers from both Zambia and Botswana have found a hot ‘trading’ spot just by the bridge to do their business.
Some drivers talked to confessed to seeking company of sex workers during their long waits that can take up 12 days before they are cleared to cross the border in either direction.
“The problem is that you cannot go far and leave your truck unattended, in case the queue moves, so it sometimes becomes appropriate to have company,” one of the truckers who declined to be named said.
A night check by the Sunday Times, found some sex workers on the Botswana side looking for clients among the long queue of truckers waiting to be cleared.
One of them said life was hard in the small border town and the delayed construction of the bridge was a blessing in disguise for her and her friends.
“This is our only source of income. If the bridge is completed it will be a good development though, on the other hand, we might lose business,” she said.