The Zimbabwean government will assist the Harare City Council to rehabilitate Harare’s roads, which it declared a state of disaster, local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said.

Kasukuwere told Wednesday’s Herald newspaper that the government would engage its existing contractors and other companies to expedite the rehabilitation, while the council also announced that it would start constructing concrete roads in place of asphalt ones.

The minister, together with his transport and infrastructural development counterpart Joram Gumbo and senior council officials, toured some of the heavily damaged roads on Tuesday and described them as in very poor condition.

“We have not had sufficient funding in the City of Harare to look after road infrastructure. We actually have a state of disaster,” Kasukuwere said.

Acting town clerk Josephine Ncube said the city would be introducing cement roads “very soon”.

“We think there is justification to use such roads as most developed countries have since migrated from asphalt roads which require constant maintenance,” she said.

Harare’s suburban roads have become so pothole riddled that motorists are now mapping their trips around the more navigable ones to avoid damaging their vehicles.

City engineers have said that state of some roads required not just mere patching of potholes but complete reconstruction.

Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni recently accused the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) of remitting much less than the city’s requirements for roads rehabilitation yet it rakes in millions from motor vehicle licenses for the city’s motorists.

Prior to the establishment of ZINARA in 2001 with the aim of enhancing the road network system throughout the country, local authorities collected license fees for motor vehicles domiciled within their areas and used the funds for road maintenance and construction.

ZINARA took over this function and now disburses various amounts to the local authorities as it deems fit.

According to Harare’s Director of Engineering Services Phillip Pfukwa, the council needs 200 million U.S. dollars a year for road maintenance but gets little from ZINARA.

For instance, in 2014 ZINARA disbursed between 250,000 and 300,000 dollars against a budget of 15 million dollars, he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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