BCC earmarks US$14m for roads

The city’s road network continues to deteriorate due to ageing and lack of timely maintenance owing to resource constraints.

THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has set aside US$14 million to rehabilitate the city’s potholed roads.

The city’s road network continues to deteriorate due to ageing and lack of timely maintenance owing to resource constraints.

A Road Conduction survey showed that nearly 80% of the city road network required rehabilitation and reconstruction.

In 2021, government launched the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) to refurbish roads across the country, Bulawayo councillors have criticised government contractors under ERRP for poor workmanship saying the exercise should have been left to the local authority.

Under the proposed US$264m 2024 budget, the Bulawayo City Council said US$14 million will go towards road works.

The draft budget presented on roads projects showed that the rehabilitation of Lobengula Street will cost US$900 000, Fort Street (US$750 000), Herbert Chitepo Street (US$800 000), Steel Works road (US$5,85m) and Matopos Road (US$2,75m).

The other roads projects earmarked for rehabilitation include Luveve Road at a budget of US$600 000, Maduma Road (US$650 000), Murchison road (US$1,2m), Fairbridge Way (US$ 680 000) and Wellington Road (US$325 000), among others.

However, residents who spoke to NewsDay recently said they no longer have faith in council budgets accusing City Fathers of poor service delivery provision.

National Consumer Rights Association spokesperson and policy analyst, Effie Ncube, urged the City Fathers to improve on service delivery.

“Last year’s budget failed to address some of the fundamental service delivery challenges facing Bulawayo. The ambulance and refuse collection truck fleet is fast disappearing. Water and sewer pipes are ageing under the weight of overpopulation,” he said.

Noting that some of the challenges faced in the city are not budgetary, but mindset related to all stakeholders including residents, he added: “The city is facing serious water supply challenges in various ways, the budget must respond to these lived realities.

“We too, as residents, must play our role by paying our bills so that the city has revenue to deliver services. Residents must also avoid vandalising council property and littering. It will take all stakeholders to improve the city.”

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association executive director, Permanent Ngoma, said residents deserved better from the recently sworn in councillors.

“We expect to see change when it comes to the rehabilitation programmes that BCC has lined up. Roads need to be fixed,” Ngoma said.

“Residents are still complaining when it comes to major issues of service delivery. If the 2023 budget did not address those issues then nothing was done right because the important issues that affect people on a daily basis were not attended to.”

Bulawayo residents are going for days without water as cholera is spreading across the country.

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