Bulawayo mayor, David Coltart, says the city needs a minimum of US$15 million per annum to maintain its road network.
The city’s 2400km road network is in a deplorable state, requiring urgent rehabilitation. The local authority is on record stating that it needs at least US$700 million to bring the network to good condition.
With the approaching rainy season, there are concerns that the road network will get worse.
Speaking after a special meeting held in council chambers yesterday to elect the deputy mayor, Coltart said the solution to having improved roads in the city lies in the devolution of funds and vehicle licensing fees.
“The ultimate solution is that the city gets the benefit of car license fees, the government reversed that several decades ago and when you pay for your license here, in the past the money used to come to the city council which was our funds to rehabilitate roads, now that money goes to ZINWA,” he said. “This year so far we have had, I think the figure is US$600 000, we need a minimum of US$15 million just to maintain our roads and that is the fundamental problem regarding potholes in roads in general.”
He said the local authority is just receiving a fraction of the money from ZINARA which is not adequate to fix the roads in the city. “Our citizens are paying a vast amount of money to ZINARA, and we are getting a fraction of that money back for the rehabilitation of roads, until that changes, we are simply not going to have sufficient money to deal with our roads, the collapse of our roads will continue,” said Coltart.
He added that there is a need for a change of policy, “but unfortunately it’s beyond us, it’s a policy implemented by the central government.”