Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has allocated $52 million to Harare City Council for road rehabilitation, including the patching of potholes.
This comes at a time when the city’s roads have deteriorated in most areas, giving road users a nightmare.
The situation has been worsened by the current incessant rains.
Last year, the city officials said they targeted to repair 1 130 kilometres, but only managed 28km.
Presenting the city’s 2020 budget recently, council’s Finance and Development Committee chairman, Councillor Luckson Mukunguma, conceded that the city’s road network was in shambles.
“The state of our roads remains deplorable and this year we managed to do only 10km of the targeted 545km, then in terms of preventive maintenance we did only 18km of the targeted 585km,” he said.
“This was largely due to the late disbursement of funds and price variations caused by distortions in the market.”
Most roads in the city have outlived their lifespan of 20 years, while some were constructed during the colonial era.
Years of neglect have left them in a state of disrepair, putting a dent on council’s plans to achieve world-class city status by 2025.
Zinara acting chief executive officer Engineer Moses Chigonyati said they had earmarked $52 million for the rehabilitation and patching of potholes in Harare.
“We are not going to disburse the funds directly to the Harare City Council’s account, but they should submit invoices for work done, so that we pay directly to the contractor,” said Eng Chigonyati.
“They should raise a certificate as per request and then we do the payment. They raise an invoice and then we pay the contractor directly to avoid the abuse of public funds.”
Eng Chigonyati said they would only make advance payments for routine work such as the clearing of drainage systems and patching of potholes.
Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba recently blamed the poor state of roads on Zinara’s alleged failure to disburse funds to rehabilitate the road network.
“This is an unfunded mandate which we were given without money being available for us to be able to attend to the needs,” he said.
“We are supposed in terms of the law to get money from Zinara, and Zinara is not giving us money. So, I am not sure how we are supposed to be working. We have been thinking outside the box, to an extent that we intend to borrow money using dividends from City Parking, but these are our own initiatives.
“I believe some of the managers of Zinara are residents in Harare. I am not sure how they see it when they are driving around if they are not remitting the money.”
Clr Gomba said in line with devolution, the city expected to collect revenue through selling licences to motorists, a function previously reserved for the city, but now being carried out by Zinara.
“The relevant authorities should give power to local authorities to get road funds from road users,” he said. “It is disturbing on our part as local authorities.
“In 2009, we were getting US$9 million per quarter, but we are no longer receiving the money. This is abnormal and unexpected. This is far away from the ideals of nation building.”