By Takunda Mandura
City of Harare Mayor Councillor Hebert Gomba has blamed the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) for the poor road network in the capital city and is appealing to central government to consider giving back the licencing portfolio to the local authority.
“We drive on the same potholed roads like all of you here, and we feel the impact of these roads on our vehicles, hence the need for government to seriously consider returning the vehicle licensing portfolio to local authorities.
“It is most unlikely that since ZINARA took over the collection in 2009, that we have received amounts anywhere close to just one year’s license collection,” he said in a recent address.
Cllr Gomba accused Zinara of unfunding the roads in Harare which resulted in contractors pulling out.
“The state of our roads is deplorable and since the takeover of the vehicle licensing portfolio by ZINARA, the roads sector has largely remained an unfunded mandate”.
“Our contractors pulled out due to price variations and late payments.
“This has contributed to the lack of meaningful progress in this sector. Subject to confirmation, Harare has over 450,000 licensed vehicles and if Council was collecting the revenue on its own, the roads situation would be different,”added Cllr Gomba.
ZINARA this year has disbursed ZWL$13 million for roads rehabilitation and Council has been able to do only 10km of roads against a target of 540 km.
Under preventive maintenance, Council had a target of 855km for 2019 but managed to do only 18km.
The work done is quite minimal considering the magnitude of the problem in Harare and with the coming rainy season the situation is likely to deteriorate.