The poor state of the roads in Beitbridge has become a perennial headache for people living in the rural parts of the district who have to pay a lot of money in fares to the few motorists still servicing the routes.
It costs between R150 and R200 to travel between the border town and most points across the district, while those traveling from Beitbridge to either Harare or Bulawayo pay R250 in transport fares.
Beitbridge has an estimated population of 250 000, with two-thirds of the people living in remote areas.
Though the Government introduced Zupco buses this year, they have not been able to service rural areas because of poor roads. The worst affected roads are those leading to Tshikwalakwala (from Lutumba), Beitbridge to Tshabili, Makakhavhule to Shashe, Makakhavhule to Toporo, Jopembi to Nhwali, Makhado to Chamnangana, Lesanth to Tshaswingo, Matshiloni to Mapani, Lutumba to Tongwe, and Bubi to Kayansee.
In separate interviews, villagers said they were worried the state of the roads could worsen even further if nothing is done before the onset of the rains.
“Some of the rural roads need attention before the onset of the rains, for example, the Beitbridge to Tshikwalakwala and Beitbridge to Swereki roads are in a very bad state,” said Mr Enock Kwinika of Goda village.
Mr Kwinika said was important for the Rural District Council and the District Development Fund to urgently grade roads to ease the burden villagers were facing in terms of transport.
“As a community, our view is that the district development stakeholders should have organised stone pitching for some bridges in wards 7 (Masera), 8 (Shashe), and 9 (Swereki).”
Mr Kwinika said many bridges had succumbed to wear and tear and were likely to be washed away by the rains.
He said it was important for the Rural District Council and the District Development Fund to urgently grade roads to ease the burden villagers were facing in terms of transport.
Another villager, Mr Beji Muleya of Nuli, said some of the roads were left seriously damaged by heavy downpours early this year.
“Most of our roads have been left unusable for over four years,” he said. “The situation between Lutumba and Tshikwalakwala is disheartening, we have a broken bridge just after Lutumba.
“During the rainy season we have no alternative bridge and this affects motorists, villagers and school children. Last year a car was washed away in the same area.”
Mr Muleya said Government should reintroduce the food for assets programme so that it taps into the community for labour.
He said transporters were shunning most routes due to bad roads.
Mr Muleya said the Tshikwalakwala road should be rehabilitated to enable the introduction of Zupco buses and other public transport operators.
Headman Mazibeli (Toteng Sebata) of Beitbridge West said roads had become dangerous, with some being death traps.