BY SILAS NKALA
THE Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has expressed concern over the state of roads in Bulawayo which are littered with potholes.
This has prompted the civic society group to petition the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) demanding that it should fix the roads as the potholes had worsened due to the rains.
In the petition sent to the BCC yesterday, the MIHR said people were not happy about the dilapidated state of the roads and wanted prompted action from the local authority as the potholes were now a menace.
“As Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights we urge the local authority to quickly move in and close these potholes before people die because of them. We also urge the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) to disburse funding to local authorities for them to be able to maintain roads.
“Zinara is collecting funds from cars through taxes every quarter and if that money is not returned to fix the roads, why should motorists continue paying? It will reach a point where motorists will refuse to pay because it seems by paying Zinara, they are actually funding the damage of their vehicles,” part of the petition read.
The human rights group said the road network in the city should not be a death trap because of failure by the authorities to fix the roads, adding that the loss of life on unmaintained roads is a human rights violation.
It said the most affected roads are Khami Road, Luveve Road, Joshua Nkomo Road and Plumtree Road to the city centre, while roads in high-density suburbs such as Pumula, Njube, Magwegwe, among others were in a sorry state.
In the low-density areas they said the worst roads were in Paddonhurst’s Netherby Road, Dillon Road in Parklands and Hillside suburbs.
Recently the BCC indicated that $20,7 million will be disbursed under the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers Programme to fund the completion of road construction works to gravel standard.
“The contract awarded to Bitumen World for the surfacing of several sections did not commence, as such the said sections now require re-formation before the surfacing can be applied.
The roads in question were Maduna between Intemba Road and Ngwenya shops, Murchison between Scone and Adair, Luveve Road and Nkulumane Road,” the council’s latest minutes read.
The minutes also stated that the 2020 Zinara allocation was $16,4 million for road maintenance and Zinara disbursed the balance of $10,3 million during the first week of October for routine maintenance.
The council said focus was on pothole patching for the listed roads and the reconstruction of Wingrove, Woodstock and Walsall roads in the vicinity of Renkini country bus terminus.
The BCC minutes also revealed that the $11 million budget which was meant for the rehabilitation of Masiyephambili Road from Emakhandeni flyover to Luveve Road was now inadequate, prompting the local authority to suspend the programme and carry it forward to next year.
“Zimdollars were no longer adequate to carry out the work. It was planned that the reconstruction works suspended last year would be funded by Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers this calendar year.”
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