Zim assembles 200 buses

ZIMBABWE is assembling 200 more buses this year with kits coming from China following the successful
assembly of 40 buses during the first two trial phases, with those buses already on the road.
This new phase of assembly should see some local component manufacture, such as seats and roof racks.
The local assembly of buses resonates well with President Mnangagwaʼs mantra of “Nyika inovakwa
nevene vayo” as local jobs have been created while reducing the countryʼs import bill.
In fact, Zimbabwe will now be able to export assembled buses as the Government-owned Deven
Engineering in partnership with Amalgamated Bus Industries can assemble up to 1 200 buses annually.
Speaking during a tour of Deven Engineering by the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and
Devolution in Harare Metropolitan Province, Mr Tafadzwa Muguti, Amalgamated Bus Industries director Dr
Shadreck Tiripano yesterday said they were ready to assemble more buses.
“We are helping the Government in NDS1 whereby we import knock-down kits from China and assemble
them here in Zimbabwe. Our medium to long term plan is to bring in more kits, especially this year where
we have got a facility of about 200 kits which means 200 buses which we want to import into Zimbabwe,”
he said.
Another director of the company, Dr Samson Nhanhanga, was optimistic of good days ahead.
“We anticipate to increase production capacity, with a target to assemble more than 200 buses per year.
We are also using local engineers from our tertiary institutions,ʼʼ he said.
Deven Engineering is owned by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ).
IDCZ acting general manager Mr Edward Tome said they have capacity to manufacture 10-12 brand new
buses daily, with shifts operating on a 24-hour basis.
“At the moment we are operating at about 10 percent of our capacity. We are able to produce between 500
to 1 200 buses per year depending on customers orders.
“However, we now have the technical knowhow and capacity. We now can manufacture any brand of a
bus for any terrain in Zimbabwe both urban and rural segments,” he said.
Mr Tome said Zimbabwe requires between 500 to 800 brand new buses yearly which Deven Engineering
can fully satisfy.
“This is being done with Zimbabwean expertise and workers only with the original equipment
manufacturer coming in to inspect at the tail end when the buses have been fully manufactured.
“For these first two batch trials, we have imported everything from China. However, our next phase will be
the third phase where we want to localise componentry. We want to start producing components like
seats, seat covers, brackets, and goods carriers on top of the buses,” he said.
Mr Tome said they want to start reverse engineering in the manufacture of buses and trucks in
collaboration with Harare Institute of Technology and the University of Zimbabwe.
“We are also working on a similar programme to start reverse engineering and local component
manufacturing for Willowvale Motor Industries as well.
“We are also bringing back to life all the old bus models from the old AVMs and FAW buses. If there is any
bus owner or operator that would want to bring their buses back on the road, Deven is here to provide that
complete solution. We also do truck bodies,” he said.
Mr Muguti said the purpose of the visit was to appreciate the operations of the company and help
capacitate them.
“It is the desire of the Government to ensure that the transport service network is properly supported,
e􀁸icient and developed at a faster pace. We want to ensure that the assembly of buses is actually done
progressively,” he said.
“As Government we remain committed to working hand in glove with industry to ensure that we assemble
our buses locally, lower the production cost, do import substitution and be able to ensure that our roads
are dominated not by second-hand imported vehicles but by jobs which were created within the Second
Republic.”
Mr Muguti said Deven was operating at its lowest with three employees but eight jobs have just been
created during Phase one which has seen 20 buses being assembled with a second batch of 20 buses on
the way.
“Companies are starting to come and place their orders. For example there are other corporations which
placed their orders of six buses each in batches which have also gone out.
“What we are going to assist them with is further training to ensure that quality assurance is done well. We
want as Harare Metropolitan to ensure that this assembly plant is servicing the region as a whole in the
future,” he said.
Mr Muguti said once a bus is involved in an accident, it should be brought back to the factory, reassembled
so that it goes back on the road again.
“We are going to save millions in forex as Government from import substitution. We are also creating jobs
here,” he said.
Mr Muguti said from 1990 to around 1999, most trailers which are still functional were manufactured
wholly within Zimbabwe.
“Deven trailers, T35 trailers that is where we are going,” he said.
Amalgamated Bus Industries has four local directors: Dr Kurauone Sibanda, Dr Leonard Mukumba, Dr Sam
Nhanhanga and Dr Shadreck Tiripano. Herald

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