HARARE mayor Herbert Gomba has challenged government to avail funds towards decongesting Harare roads, saying the situation was unattainable, with traffic accidents now rampant.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Speaking after touring road rehabilitation programmes in the city, Gomba said government should help the local authority deal with potholes and decongest traffic through the construction of traffic circles and flyovers.
“We have projects that ought to be financed by government. We are appealing to the Ministry of Transport to assist,” he said.
“I am talking about the project to decongest the Mbudzi roundabout, government should play ball and ensure that we have a flyover so that traffic, be it commercial or private that would be in transit, does not mix with the local vehicles. We are losing business because of this congestion.”
The mayor visited road constructions works in Budiriro, Gaydon and at Mbudzi roundabout, and was accompanied by senior council officials and various contractors.
Since end of last year, council has embarked on road rehabilitation programmes with a target budget of $13 million mainly within the central business district.
Now the programme has been moved to residential areas, where roads have become impassable due to potholes.
“This project is part of our 100-day plan. These projects we are funding them from our own resources and we have opened talks with Zinara [Zimbabwe National Roads Administration], banks and other capital developers so that we could give our city life. Harare should be Harare again and we are committed to that,” Gomba said.
“We are saying government should also come to the party and help us. This is our city.”
Council wants to spend at least $5 million and hopes that Zinara would bring in more funds to ensure that roads in residential areas are usable, while street lighting and other amenities are in place.
“We are not going to be cry-babies, but we shall start to do something while we lobby for more funds from government because it is the people who should enjoy the money they pay to Zinara,” Gomba said.
At least 800 000 vehicles drive through Harare City Council’s 4 000km road network daily, with 80% of the road network said to be in a bad state.
Council has been lamenting that of the 800 000 licensed motor vehicles that move around Harare, the city could raise $10 million per quarter or $40 million per year, if it was allowed to collect vehicle licence fees directly.
Harare is among several cities and towns lobbying central government to allow them to collect vehicle licence fees.