1 March 2018
. . . pothole menace in Harare
‘. . . wrong roads being resurfaced’
THE road network in the greater part of Harare has been condemned by motorists and pedestrians who have challenged both council and government to urgently address the matter.
Motorists have questioned the Harare City Council’s attitude in trying to address the roads network issue, deliberating that the authorities are prioritising roads that are “already good” while turning a blind eye on other roads that need urgent attention.
A snap survey carried yesterday showed that roads like Rezende South Street, the southern part of Leopold Takawira Street, Kenneth Kaunda Avenue, Robson Manyika Street, Simon Muzenda Street, Selous Avenue and Mazowe Street had some parts engulfed by potholes.
Roads such as Sam Nujoma Street, Nelson Mandela Avenue and Samora Machel Avenue have of late been serviced with new surfaces yet they have a good look.
Motor vehicle users have implored government to make use of taxes they pay and tollgate fees to rehabilitate roads.
Maxwell Zvarivadza, a kombi driver plying the Borrowdale route, pointed that potholes are negatively impacting their business as they are worsening the tearing away of motor vehicle parts.
“Mavhiri emota ari kukasika kufa and at the same time suspensions are quickly getting worn. Mavhiri anochekwa nema potholes. I do not know what council does with money we pay for route authorities and ZINARA is also silent about this matter.
“We pay vehicle tax, so something has to be done. As someone in the transport industry, I can safely say we feel let down and cheated by what council is doing,” said Maxwell.
Another motorist, Cleopas Chirizani, said potholes are contributing to an increase in road accident statistics.
“At times when we are travelling its difficult to avoid a pothole that you abruptly see when trailing another vehicle.
“One might avoid the pothole by encroaching into the lane of oncoming vehicles hence leading to accidents.
“At times we get into potholes unknowingly especially in this rainy season where they will be filled up with water.
“Just imagine unenge uchi driver and you end up having a tyre burst or parts dislocation. It seems authorities want to service roads they use which we know are already good.
“We are now seeing dish holes in our roads,” said Chirizani.
When H-Metro sought clarity from Harare City Council’s corporate communications manager Michael Chideme he said the resources allocated for road maintenance are little.
“We have major roads and they are the ones we are prioritising and attending to right now.
“We have plans to look at other roads but the only factor stopping us is funding,” said Chideme.
The council’s spokesperson further indicated that they need half a billion dollars to fix the whole road network in Harare.
He added: “We are only working with a facility of $25 million dollars and we are hopeful of getting more money for funding since we pray for investors to come. To get the whole road network system in Harare repaired, we need half a billion dollars.
“Soon we hope investors will come forth and make such enquiries because it is an area open for investment.”
Council is racing to make Harare achieve a world class city status by 2025, a target which Chideme said they are going to meet despite overseeing allocation of residential stands on wetlands, a congested city, vendors menacing along pavements and the mshika-shika taxis uncontainable.
Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba said for council to achieve the world class city status, it should prioritise rate payers and ignore the huge salaries and allowances given to the top brass.
“They need to prioritise ratepayers and they also need to contract competent construction and road engineering companies to do the works of road rehabilitation and resurfacing and not select unqualified contractors.
“They should stop selecting unqualified contractors or companies that are owned by top management or city council or those that are around them,” said Shumba.
Shumba also noted that most city roads, especially in the high density areas, need attention as they are “heavily potholed”.
Government last year announced that it requires at least $2,2 billion to rehabilitate the national road network comprising approximately 17 000km of tarred roads and 71 000km of gravel roads.
It, however, remains to be seen if the rehabilitation exercise will bring smiles on the faces of road users.
(By Gibson Nyikadzino and Rumbidzai Chingoveza)