EDITORIAL COMMENT: ZINARA robbing motorists

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: ZINARA robbing motorists | The Financial Gazette January 26, 2017

IT is no longer unusual to see a string of gaping potholes on many of Zimbabwe’s roads constantly posing a danger to motorists who have to use these neglected streets and highways.
Wherever one travels in Zimbabwe, whether it is in Harare, Mutare, Kariba or Victoria Falls, potholes have become a constant feature on our country’s roads.
Many road accidents have occurred as a result of these potholes because on many occasions motorists have lost control of their vehicles after hitting a pothole or in the process of trying to avoid one.
Traffic accidents caused by the poor state of our roads have increased during this rainy season because potholes become invisible in the rain. As a result, many lives have been lost while many motorists have incurred huge costs arising from damages caused by driving over potholes.
In the past these potholed roads were prevalent only in high density residential areas, but now the menace has spread to roads in leafy suburbs such as Borrowdale, Greystone Park and Chisipite in the capital Harare — areas previously known for their smooth and properly maintained roads.
In recent years, potholes have also become a permanent feature on many roads in Harare’s central business district.
The same can be said about the roads in other cities and towns such as Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru or Kwekwe.
Evidently, those entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the country’s roads are sleeping on the job or have given up on their obligation.
The Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA), the agency responsible for the maintenance and development of the country’s national road network, has nothing to show for the millions of United States dollars it collects from motorists every year.
Local authorities that also have a responsibility to maintain and develop roads within their precincts appear overwhelmed by this responsibility. These councils accuse ZINARA of disbursing inadequate financial resources to them towards the maintenance of their roads.
In June last year, ZINARA revealed it had generated US$180 million in six years through its tolling system introduced in 2010. Our understanding is that tollgates were introduced in order to create a fund for the maintenance and development of the country’s ageing road network given that most roads in the country were constructed over 40 years ago during the colonial era, with an average lifespan of 20 years.
While ZINARA has succeeded in collecting revenue from motorists through its tolling system, the parastatal has dismally failed in its mandate to fund the maintenance and development of the national road network. The menacing potholes and the state of disrepair on the country’s roads cannot justify the millions of dollars the agency is collecting from hard-pressed motorists, who now feel robbed by the parastatal.
ZINARA needs to put its act together and justify its tolling system by rehabilitating the country’s roads and developing a world class national road network. It must also disburse adequate funds to local authorities for the resurfacing of roads before more lives are lost as a result of accidents caused by poor road infrastructure.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar
    Homo Erectus 5 years ago

    The UN did a study about 10-15 years ago on ‘the condition of roads’ – their finding was that the number of potholes in any city or country roads is directly correlated to the amount of corruption that occurs in that city or country. More potholes = more corruption. That’s very true. And YES, Zinara is screwing us big time, but then that old grandpa is probably screwing Zinara of all its funds.

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    Mazano Rewayi 5 years ago

    It’s not just ZINARA, almost all public institutions are fleecing the people. ZESA, ZIMRA, councils are all the same. They squeeze every cent out of the people and spend the money on themselves then punish the people if they dare question the situation. Services, what services? We are serfs and we must pay our dues for the comfort of the lords.

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    Mushavi 5 years ago

    The ZINARA can easily improve the road network in zimbabwe if corruption is eradicated in the government. Since independence, we do not have any road that we did ourself but they collect money everytime. We have now become the worst country in Southern africa as far as road network is concerned. Look at Zambia how it is improving but we used to laugh at them.

    A lot of people in Zimbabwe are dying in trying to get to major hospital especially in rural areas. Look at Matibi hospital, Mnene, Musume hospitals in Mberengwa, how to get there especially during rain season. There are a lot of institutions done by Smith but no improvement was done. These areas have been magninalised for more than 40yrs now and government doesnt care about it.

    The amount of money we collect from toll gates is more than enough to construct better roads in zimbabwe but due to corruption it is most likely impossible to have good roads network with this current government which is corrupt. ZINARA should channel the money they collect from motorists towards road networks.