By Staff Reporter
The state of roads in Bulawayo has worsened in the last few weeks since the onset of the rainfall season amid complaints from motorists that the pothole riddled roads were causing damage to their vehicles.
The local authority has been on record admitting that it does not have readily available funds to rehabilitate the city’s 2065 kilometre road network.
Ever since the rainfall season started in October last year, most of the roads which had been patched after the previous rainfall seasons developed started developing potholes.
Half way into the rainfall season, the city’s road network has been left in a bad state with some of the roads having been rendered inaccessible, with new routes being created by motorists, especially commuter omnibus operators.
The city’s aged road network is in dire need of a complete overhaul and rehabilitation as most of the city’s roads have outlived their lifespan.
The city’s roads are supposed to be resurfaced every 10 years.
While council has often rehabilitated the major roads in the city, the local suburb roads are the worser state.
Enterprising youths in most suburbs have made money by filling up the potholes and receiving tokens of appreciation from the motorists.
Motorists have bore the brunt with their vehicles being damaged by the potholes.
Motorists who spoke to to 263Chat took a dig at the local authority for doing shoddy work on the roads.
“The city council is largely to blame for the state of the roads. Instead of resurfacing the roads they put patches and once it starts to rain the potholes appear again and this time they will be even bigger than the previous. It has actually become a cycle and this is done every year and the state of our roads will not improve unless the council takes a serious stance on the rehabilitation of the road network,” said Emmanuel Ndebele.
Cynthia Maphosa said the local authority had the capacity to rehabilitate the roads but needed assistance from government.
“When the Bulawayo City Council was collecting road levies they were able to rehabilitate the roads timeously. After government took over the collection of road levies, council never received any remittances from government. So we cannot entirely blame council,” she said.
The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) currently embroiled in a $8 million scandal has been collecting vehicle fees on behalf of government.
Councils have accused ZINARA for not disbursing funds to local authorities but the latter has accused councils of misappropriating the funds and instead bought road maintenance equipment which council have been using to repair the roads.
Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Martin Moyo said the city’s financial situation has adversely affected service delivery.
“Regrettably cash available could not finance the budgeted activities for the year, leading to reduced service delivery levels. Furthermore, Council could not get cheaper sources of funds to finance the bulk of capital expenditure,” said the mayor.
The poor state of the roads is the same throughout the country, as government has in many instances admitted that the country’s road network is in need of urgent rehabilitation.