It is the most expensive bridge in the history of Mozambique since its independence and was inaugurated this Saturday, 10th of November 2018 by President Nyusi. It is three kilometers long and is on the list of the 70 largest bridges worldwide.
After several delays, the infrastructure was inaugurated this last Saturday by the Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi. At the time, the head of state considered that the construction, financed by China, will contribute to the dynamism of the country’s economy.
The bridge, whose official name is Maputo-Katembe, was built under strong criticism from some social and political circles, because of the values involved and its relevance. But the truth is that, using the ferryboat, motorists needed at least four hours to cross from Maputo to Katembe, counting on the waiting time at the pier. Now, the same route, across the bridge, takes only five minutes.
In addition, the ferryboat crossing was almost two euros more expensive – light cars paid about four euros to make the crossing. With the bridge, they will pay around two euros.
The management of the four tolls inserted in the wake of the construction of the Maputo circular and the bridge will be carried out by Maputo-Sul, an entity linked to the government. The same company will also be in charge of maintaining not only the bridge, but also the circular road, for a length of 187 kilometers. For this, it will resort to the collection of a fee through tolls.
After traveling the bridge, the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi called for “the Ministry of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, through the national construction professionals, to try to observe strictly the maintenance processes.”
On Maputo-Katembe Bridge inauguration, Maputo-South confirmed the value of the fees to be paid in the crossing, which will be subdivided into four classes. They range from a minimum of two euros to about twenty euros.
Values that, admits the government, could have a negative impact on the pocket of the main users of the bridge, especially the residents of Katembe.
Discounts for frequent users
For this reason, the executive admitted to introducing subsidized rates, with discounts of 75 per cent for the largest users of the bridge, namely semi-traffic transports, tractors with and without leash and passenger coaches. Therefore, the minimum price with discounts should drop to the equivalent of 0.50 euro cents. The most expensive in this class will be the equivalent of 1.70 cents, says Maputo-South.
However, Katembe residents using the ferry are not satisfied with the toll fees. They are considered high for those who will make pendular movements. However, according to Maputo-Sul, also citizens who frequent trips, for example, workers in the city of Maputo, “must pay the equivalent of 1.5 cents of euros per crossing.”
Silva Magaia has no doubts about the advantages that the infrastructure will bring. “This bridge will completely change the way we are crossing between Maputo and Katembe,” he said.
“We have to review the rates”
The private sector demands its intervention in the maintenance of this project of the Maputo circular, as in other bridges or viaducts. The president of the Confederation of Economic Associations, Agostinho Vuma, recalled that during the construction of the Maputo-Katembe Bridge there were agreements that did not allow Mozambique to intervene as intended because of the size of the work. However, once the project is completed, Agostinho Vuma understands that “the time has come for Mozambicans to manage it. We have the local capacity to make a correct management.” This is the time to involve Mozambicans and explore the also from the road, “he said.
The national businessmen also recognized that the tolls tolls are high. According to Agostinho Vuma, “the transport sector will be the first to resent it and will transfer this problem to the ordinary citizen. We must review the rates so that these costs do not pass to the citizen,” he concluded.
“Symbol of national unity”
Speaking to journalists, after inaugurating the work on the Maputo side, Filipe Nyusi evoked the three Mozambican presidents who preceded him. He emphasized that the venture was part of the dreams of Samora Machel, the first head of state, and of Joaquim Chissano, who succeeded him, and who was “put into motion by Armando Guebuza.”
The Maputo-Katembe Bridge opens at a time when Mozambique is experiencing a serious financial crisis. In this sense, the head of state explained that the “decision