The rain season has started. It has brought joy to farmers and the thirsty. It, however, has brought suffering in other quarters.
In Bulawayo, indeed, the rains have made residents happy as they hope that the water crisis they have been battling for months could be beginning to end if the rains become heavier and more prolonged.
However, the rains that have fallen have brought a problem — they have damaged the city’s roads.
Luveve Road is now untrafficable. The same applies to Lobengula and Herbert Chitepo streets as one drives north of Fifth Avenue. Khami Road is now riddled with huge potholes, the same applies to Matopos, Wellington and Steelworks roads. We will not mention smaller roads in suburbs — in Makokoba, Mzilikazi, and elsewhere. One has to ride on a four-wheel drive to navigate them. If you have a smaller vehicle, you drive at personal risk of being injured in a crash or damaging the motor. To avoid both the foregoing, you will need much patience to drive on them. It’s a citywide collapse, a collapse which residents endure yearly, rather.
The reason why this is so is that Bulawayo City Council has no idea how to raise money to build new roads, maintain and rehabilitate existing ones. Residents must be relieved that the Government noted the collapse and is acting on it. Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister, Felix Mhona was in the city on Thursday last week to see for himself the full extent of the crisis. He drove on Luveve and Khami roads, telling the media thereafter that the city’s roads have become a danger to users. He ordered council to draw up a budget for the required roadworks.
The local authority has obliged, submitting a $3billion quotation to the Government for the emergency rehabilitation of Luveve, Matopos, Wellington, Khami and Steelworks roads.
Council corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said:
“Yes, the budget was crafted and shared with the relevant Government Departments on the 17th November 2022. The budget is US$5 million (ZW$3, 2 billion),” said Mrs Mpofu.
“The city roads have further deteriorated due to the rains that the country received in the beginning of November 2022. This has affected connectivity within the city, increased travelling times, increased vehicle operating costs and caused general frustration to the general motoring public. The city intends to use the in-house teams for overlay works, outsource the batching of hot mix and complement internal resources with hired plant.”
With no plan of their own (a plan with no resources to execute it is not a plan), the opposition-led council must be appreciative of the Government intervention. Residents must be appreciative too that the Government has stepped in once again to deliver a service that the local authority should have delivered.
It is clear who delivers for the people of Bulawayo and who doesn’t.
We are sure that soon, work will begin to leave the five roads in a far much better state, just as others that central Government has worked on in the city such as Siyephambili Drive, Cecil Avenue, Fife Street and others. The Government deserves plaudits for rising to the occasion once again.
Will council please — for lack of a better term — complement central government by fixing smaller roads within suburbs?
Article Source: The Chronicle