ZIMBABWE National Roads Administration (Zinara) officials were yesterday grilled by Members of Parliament who demanded clarity on why the Harare-Beitbridge Road had been left out in the current roads rehabilitation exercise.
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The MPs said the Harare-Bietbridge Road should have been prioritised considering its bad state and strategic economic importance.
Zinara acting-board chairperson Albert Mugabe and acting chief executive officer Moses Juma had a torrid time in fielding questions from members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development.
Highfield East MP Erick Murai (MDC-T) said: “People should be serious about rehabilitation of Masvingo Road because right now it is unsafe to have vehicles moving on it. It is just a strip and people are dying every day. It is a strategic road which contributes a lot to our economy and something should be done.”
Glen Norah MP Webster Maondera (MDC-T) added: “We do not appreciate mediocrity on whoever is supposed to make those decisions because money is collected from tollgates in that stretch of road. What are you doing with the money that you are collecting from Chirundu to Beitbridge?”
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna (Zanu PF) felt the oversight was not acceptable as it appeared as if money collected on the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road was being used to develop other roads that were being revamped.
Mugabe told the House that Zinara was not responsible for disbursement of money collected from tollgates saying all decisions on roads were made by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
“Presently, Masvingo Road is subject to a court case, and it has created challenges because we do not know if government may lose that court case, but it is the court case that has held back construction. Masvingo road has degenerated severely and needs a complete overhaul, and before the onset of the rains we should have begun to do something on that road,” he said.
Mugabe defended the recent hike in toll fees, saying the money was urgently needed for rehabilitation of roads.
Juma said Zinara had asked local authorities to submit their own road rehabilitation needs for funding.
“We have written to urban councils to submit roads that needed pothole patching. Last week we disbursed $1 million to the 32 urban councils for purposes of patching potholes. The board authorised $3 million to address potholes beginning of October. We bought jet patchers for patching potholes — one was given to Bulawayo and two to Harare,” he said.