Bulawayo mayor wants city’s road rehab programme scrapped; adds it’s a failure

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO mayor Solomon Mguni has called for the disbanding of government’s Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP), arguing that the programme has been a monumental failure in the city.

In March last year, government took over responsibility of local authorities’ roads maintenance and repair following a public outcry over their bad condition.

Addressing councillors during the first ordinary council meeting for the year 2023, Mayor Mguni attributed the city’s bad road network to the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme.

“The collapse of the city’s road network in 2021 to 2022 is attributed to the failure of the central government’s Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP). As the adage goes, statistics don’t lie. 2021/2022 saw the erratic or non-disbursement of allocated ZINARA funds, some which were diverted towards the government’s ERRP Programmes.

“This saw 18 Bulawayo roads taken over by the department of roads and the central mechanical and equipment department (CMED) and various associated contractors under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development,” said Mguni.

The mayor revealed that out of the 18 roads taken over by government, only three were completed.

“All these 12 roads taken over by government for rehabilitation in 2021 are still at 0%. We then have three of the aforesaid 18 roads that have been partially done; but the quality of the work is questionable. Fife street (2.7 km stretch) – only 15% was done. Nketa Drive; (2.1km) 50% is said to have been done,” he added.

Mguni said CMED has tried to rectify the problem but to no avail.

“I call upon this house from across the political divide to speak with one voice as we call upon the central government to disband the ERRP which has had a deleterious effect on the city’s road maintenance efforts. Instead of being an active player, government must capitalize local authorities to handle their own roads maintenance units in the spirit of devolution of power,” added Mguni.