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Harare City Council bungles on road funds

A health worker screens motorists of Covid-19 at a security check point near Mutare Teachers’ College on Wednesday. — Picture: Tinai Nyadzayo

Sunday Mail Reporter

HARARE City Council is getting its fair share of allocations for road rehabilitation from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) but the condition of roads in and around the city continues to deteriorate, it has emerged.

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume last week blamed the poor state of the city’s roads on Zinara.

Councillor Mafume, who is currently suspended as he has a pending criminal case before the courts, claimed that the local authority was failing to get funds to spruce up roads under its jurisdiction.

However, Zinara spokesperson and public relations manager Mr Tendai Mugabe said allocations are done using a scientific disbursement formula.


“We, as a parastatal, have always engaged Harare City Council and fulfilled its obligations, and we have fully disbursed funds to the local authority as per their request. “We are 100 percent up-to-date and we have never delayed. We have always been in touch with them,” he said.

“In 2017, a State of Emergency on roads was declared, resulting in the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme countrywide. From that programme, the City of Harare accrued a debt which they wanted to service using our disbursements. In 2020 after the supplementary budget that we had in the last quarter of the year, we disbursed $39 million to the City of Harare, which was garnished by Zimra.”

Zinara’s mandate, he said, is not to fix roads but to collect and distribute funds to road authorities.

“After collecting, we disburse to four road authorities, namely the Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development; the District Development Fund; urban councils; and rural councils.

“The road authorities are the ones responsible for all the roadworks.”

He said the parastatal, through guidance from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and its board of directors, has embarked on a rebranding drive to align the organisation to its legislative mandate, which does not include undertaking road projects.

A report from Zinara indicates that all the major local authorities had received full disbursements as at October 26, 2020.

The disbursement schedule indicates that the City of Harare received $46 million, Bulawayo City Council got $16 million while the Mutare and Gweru City councils received $7 million and $9 million respectively, with Masvingo getting $4 million.

While all other local authorities are putting the Zinara funds to good use, Harare City council is failing to account for the funds, leaving motorists to bear the brunt of unserviced roads.

Overall, the City of Harare is the third-biggest beneficiary after the Department of Roads and the District Development Fund (DDF).