For the past 5 years, communities in rural Chiredzi have been finding the going tough every rainy season.
Apart from risking their lives the communities are being forced to fork out double the fare for travelling from Chiredzi town to Chilonga and surrounding areas after the collapse of Chilonga bridge.
The coming of the rainy season every year, spells a headache for villagers in Chiredzi south.
Once the water levels in Runde river rises, villagers are forced to fork out double the usual fare for travelling from Chiredzi town to their respective homes as the trip will now be involving the use of boats to cross Chilonga bridge.
Using pirate vehicles the first route ends when they are dropped off at the bridge with the second trip needing an extra fare to ride the makeshift boats that will take them to their destinations.
Crossing the crocodile infested Runde river on makeshift boats is a life threatening adventure and some villagers are seen saying a prayer before the boat trip.
Since December last year the water levels have not receded and the call from the villagers has been for government to prioritise the construction of a new bridge.
“I tried to cross the bridge in 2006. I was driving and had 7 people on board , 4 died and just 3 of us came out alive. This bridge has been troublesome for too long. Why can`t they do something about it,” says some of concerned villagers.
Preying on the benefits of the villagers misery are the boat operators who in their drive for sustenance and to offer help seem not to be aware of the risks they are placing themselves and their customers under.
Chiredzi South member of the house of assembly, Cde Callisto Gwanetsa also revealed because of this challenge prices of basic commodities in areas beyond Chilonga bridge always go up whenever the water levels rise.
“The bridge situation puts us in a difficult position every time when the water levels rises. This also leads to underdevelopment in my constituency,” Cde Gwanetsa said.
An estimated US$14 million is required to construct a new bridge that would ease the problems for these residents.