THE city of Bulawayo is considering gravel roads after realising it does not have the capacity to maintain its road network.
BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
Ward 28 councillor, Collet Ndlovu told a full council meeting on Wednesday, that the local authority needed to be “serious about roads”.
“As Bulawayo, we have to be serious about our roads. We now know that trying to tar our roads will take us forever.
“Maybe, we should concentrate on grading the roads, but it seems even that is taking a long time, even up to a year in some wards. I propose that the graders be allocated per ward. If you are going to grade five kilometres in Cowdray Park, it is as good as if you have done nothing. At least if the graders could be allocated per ward, that would be better,” he said.
Ward 23 councillor, Thobani Ncube weighed in, saying it was important that the local authority has an idea of its fleet of graders that are operational before an allocation plan is put in place.
“How many graders do we have as a council? We then need to share those graders per ward because waiting for a grader to rotate in terms of all the 29 wards is just cumbersome,” he said.
Another councillor, Silas Chigora, who sits on the engineering committee, revealed the country’s second largest city only has three functional graders.
Others urged council to consider roping in private players.
“There was a policy in the BCC that used to accommodate private players in road maintenance,” he said.
“We cannot afford to take care of our roads on our own. Let us swallow our pride and engage private players in this,” Ward 26 councillor, Norman Hlabani argued.
The heavy rains pounding most parts of the country have wreaked havoc, with roads in Harare having been declared a state of disaster by the government. Most of the capital city’s roads are in a deplorable state after having been constructed in the Rhodesian era.
The economic challenges affecting the country have left infrastructure on its knees, with central government failing to cope.