Rains a blessing, roads a disaster

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
Waterlogging and potholes have made driving a nightmare in Bulawayo, while tyre traders are reporting brisk business.

Bulawayo resident Mr Thamsanqa Sibanda was driving his vehicle along Intemba Road from Magwegwe West to Nkulumane yesterday when his car hit a pothole, puncturing two tyres.

Mr Sibanda is among many Bulawayo residents who are falling victim to potholes that have been worsened by the rains, exposing the Bulawayo City Council’s failure to attend to the problem.

Potholes in Magwegwe West, Bulawayo

In many suburbs of Bulawayo, meandering through the roads is like driving a tour operators’ vehicle through a jungle.

While the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme launched by Government has seen some major roads being restored, council has failed to play its part, especially when it comes to roads in the city’s suburbs.

Siyephambili Drive is a prime example of the work done by Government, which council has failed to replicate.

Before Government’s intervention, the road was riddled with potholes, but now that is a thing of the past.

The major problem now lies in the suburbs, both western and eastern, as the roads leading to people’s homes are in a sorry state.

Also, on the periphery of Bulawayo’s city centre roads such as Fort Street, Jason Moyo, Herbert Chitepo and Lobengula after Fourth Avenue are in a dire state.

Driving along Luveve Road, before the bridge that divides Makokoba and Mzilikazi, is also a nightmare. The number of potholes and their depth is a risk for any driver passing through.

A Chronicle news crew yesterday witnessed Mr Sibanda, a victim of potholes, as he was changing his damaged tyres along Intemba Road.

The motorists change a flat tyre after hitting a pothole

“These are huge potholes and I have just hit one. My two tyres and rims have been damaged. There is a huge hole that was dug by the City Council and it is dangerous,” said Mr Sibanda.

“We request that Government and the city council fix these potholes, they cause a lot of damage to our cars and tyres. I bought these tyres for US$90 two weeks ago and now I have to buy new ones. Something has to be done soon.”

After removing the tyres, Mr Sibanda headed to the corner of Godlwayo and Intemba Road where Mr Ngqabutho Tshuma, who was in a VW Caravan, is based.

A heap of tyres is a sign that Mr Tshuma fixes tyres and provides pressure for those who would have had pothole-related problems.

Mr Tshuma said business is brisk due to damages caused by numerous potholes.

“It is very dangerous. That car could have avoided the pothole if the driver could see it. But because it is raining, they won’t see it. We have many customers ranging mostly from kombi drivers and other people who come and get their tyres fixed here,” he said.

After some negotiating, Mr Sibanda walked almost a kilometre and found a group of young men who have also set up their own shed to fix tyres.

Here Mr Sibanda found Mr Londiwe Siwela and his crew ready to help.

Mr Siwela also said business was brisk and many people were visiting his “depot” because of the potholes. “I don’t know if this is right to say, but business is brisk because of the potholes and if they are fixed, we shall be out of business,” said Mr Siwela.
The cheapest tyre costs around US$50 and a second-hand rim costs about US$30.

Apart from the issue of potholed roads, there is poor drainage in the city making driving a nightmare.

During the day yesterday following a downpour, at some point even some roads in the city centre resembled a river delta because of the poor drainage system.

Roads such as Robert Mugabe Way, Josiah Tongogara and Samuel Parirenyatwa Street are always susceptible to flooding and it has become a norm. This is because they are downhill towards the Matsheumhlophe River, and most of storm drains are clogged.

Council spokesperson Mrs Nesisa Mpofu had not responded to questions by the time of going to print.
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Article Source: The Chronicle

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