By Helen Kadirire
The patching of potholes is Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara)’s responsibility and not Harare City Council (HCC)’s, mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has said.
He told a full council meeting at Town House on Monday that the local authority must not be burdened with the obligation, as it was getting meagre amounts from the roads funds administrator.
“Residents should direct their complaints on potholes and poor roads to Zinara and not HCC. We should be getting about $40 million per year from Zinara for road maintenance but they are only remitting $1 million which is not enough for standard repairs,” he said.
“Zinara should take full responsibility and blame for the poor state of Harare’s roads,” Manyenyeni said.
Harare’s 6 000-kilometre road network is potholed after having gone for nearly two decades without any meaningful maintenance.
Ideally, roads require maintenance after every two or three years following construction.
The key infrastructure must be resealed after five years while an overlay must be done after seven years to ensure safety.
According to HCC’s director of works, Phillip Pfukwa, council requires $24 million for the procurement of road maintenance equipment and public lighting.
“The roads condition was such that 25 percent of the network required rehabilitation while 75 percent was in need of preventative maintenance measures,” he said.
“The only meaningful procurement of construction assets was in 1993 through proceeds from the World Bank loan.
“With the adoption of the multi-currency system in 2009, the city’s primary focus had been the provision of potable water and solid waste management.”
Combined Harare Residents Association has also blamed the poor state of Harare’s roads on Zinara, arguing that since it took over roads administration, the city has been losing millions of dollars in revenue annually.
According to a council engineer, depending on the size of a pothole, it may cost approximately $5 per square metre to fix, while it would cost $30 000 per tonne of tar for a kilometre stretch of road. Daily News