By Anna Chibamu
MPs on Monday took time to dress down Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) for run down tollgate infrastructure and poor service on the country’s highways.
Among those who took a good tongue lashing by legislators were officials from the Roads Department in the Ministry of Transport.
This follows a tour of some tollgates by parliament’s transport portfolio committee which came face to face with dilapidated tollgate infrastructure.
Committee chair and Zanu PF Shamva North MP, Oscar Gorerino described the tollgates as “shacks” after a tour of the structures in Bindura and Shamva.
“This is unacceptable. How do you feel when you see your employees working in such poor structures? This is not good. You must be ashamed of this,” Gorerino said.
He also expressed his worries over poor security at the tollgates.
“You have subjected these people to this kind of set-up for too long without proper infrastructure. What you are doing is not fair. Moda kutora mari chete asi hamudi kugadzirisa zvinhu (You just want to collect money without putting it to good use).”
Another committee member, Zanu PF Seke MP Munyaradzi Kashambe also berated the roads administrator for taking too long put plans into action.
“ZINARA you are taking too long to implement things. For example, Mupfurudza tollgate; you have been talking about upgrading it, but nothing has been done.
“This is your cash cow but the pace you have been moving with leaves a lot to be desired,” Mashambe told ZINARA chairperson Michael Madanha.
ZINARA workers work under harsh conditions due to bad and often incomplete infrastructure which has exposed them to elements of whether such as rain, cold and windy conditions depending on the season at the time.
Workers also raised concern over being exposed to armed robbers and wild animals while on duty.
Among workers’ concerns were constant exposure to Covid-19.
MPs also blamed ZINARA for numerous accidents in Norton where a couple perished last week after a head-on collision due to the absence of road markings.
Madanha denied any wrongdoing by the roads authority’s staff.
“ZINARA does not build roads. Our function is to collect revenue on behalf of the roads authority, and pass it on to them,” he said.
Shurugwi North MP, Robson Nyathi complained of long queues at tollgates resulting in delays for motorists to reach their destinations.
However, Zinara workers told the committee they had designed a new techno system to operate a third lane as most tollgates had only two lanes on either side.
However, on being tested under the MPs’ watch, the machine skipped some crucial information on the receipt.
This left MPs with suspicions this created avenues for pilferage by staff.
ZINARA’s management of public funds has not been any impeccable following numerous reports of fraud by both managers and junior staff.