A huge public outcry has once again erupted over the poor state of roads which have developed crater-like potholes due to the torrential rains.
Motorists said little or no action was being taken by authorities to address the problem which has resulted in an increased number of accidents and damage to vehicles.
Some motorists are now demanding that the fuel levies be suspended until the repairs are undertaken. They are questioning where the millions of dollars being collected by the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) every month are going.
Others complained that the poor state of roads was causing inconvenience to the motorists, especially in Harare where massive traffic jams are now a common thing.
For a long time now, Harare City council has failed to come up with a lasting solution to potholes which are now a death trap to motorists.
People who spoke to The Standard yesterday expressed concern over the state of the roads in the capital and appealed to the responsible authorities to take swift action before more lives were lost.
One motorist, Daniel Mutepfa said the potholes damaged vehicles and led to traffic congestion as motorists negotiated their way around the potholes.
“The roads have become unpleasant as the potholes sometimes fill up with water and litter, depriving motorists and pedestrians a health, friendly environment,” he said.
Another motorist, Patricia Mhandu said potholes were not only a danger to motorists, but also damaged vehicle tyres and suspensions.
“Motorists driving daily on the damaged roads risk not only their safety but also the state of their cars,” she said.
Mhandu said pedestrians were also at risk of falling into the potholes that were growing wider by the day.
“The city fathers should address this problem because we are incurring unnecessary costs of repairing our tyres that are damaged by the bad roads in the city,” she said.
There has not been a significant change in the city’s roads even after Zinara acquired heavy duty pothole patching vehicles early last year in an attempt to improve the state of the country’s roads.
MDC-T secretary for transport Engineer Elias Mudzuri said the poor state of the roads countrywide was unacceptable.
“It leaves a lot to be desired from the authorities,’’ Mudzuri said.
He said transparency must prevail as motorists wanted to see their hard-earned cash put to good use by Zinara.
“The councils must also engage the public because waiting for Zinara alone is not enough as the situation is worsening. Some roads now look like stretches of rock,” he said.
Mudzuri attributed many road accidents to the dilapidated roads as small cars faced difficulties moving on the roads, especially after rains.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said council was keen to repair the roads but resources were limited.
“We have been welcoming initiatives from the public when people or businesses offer to provide their own diesel so as to facilitate repairs because our resources are limited,” he said.
Manyenyeni said as the capital city with the highest number of motorists, there was need for Harare to get more revenue from Zinara than it was getting now.
“We have been negotiating with Zinara so that we get more funds from them and the discussions are still in progress,” he said.
Zinara spokesperson, Augustine Moyo and Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu could not be reached for comment yesterday. But recently Mpofu blamed the poor road network on sanctions. He said government was working with local authorities in setting up the proposed urban tollgates to help improve roads and reduce congestion in cities and towns.
Mpofu has also blamed corruption at government institutions such as the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) for causing carnages on the country’s roads.