By Kenneth Matimaire
THE City of Mutare (CoM) has repaired 516 street lights and 11 tower lights as the eastern border city embarks on an exercise to restore its public lighting system.
The development is meant to promote night tourism as well as improve the safety of residents and stakeholders at night.
Theft and housebreak-in cases had become rampant across the city with criminals targeting areas with non functional public lights, according to the provincial police public relations department.
Similar concerns were also reiterated by residents and their associations.
CoM underscored that it was taking an aggressive drive to restore the public lighting system following the acquisition of its new aerial work platform.
“We have so far made tremendous progress in repairing non functioning street lights city wide to improve public light system. So far a total of 516 street lights have been repaired and brought to functionality,” said CoM spokesperson Spren Mutiwi.
Mutare has over 1,900 street lights.
Information gathered indicates that the repaired street lights are situated in Greenside, Chaminuka, Darlington and Murambi suburbs including Josiah Tongogara, Robert Mugabe, and Park Road.
Mutiwi said they are currently repairing street lights along Aerodrome Road, which had also become a hotspot for theft and assault cases.
“We are attending to underground fault cables and other repairs there (Aerodrome Road),” he said.
In terms of tower lights, Mutiwi said they have repaired five in Dangamvura and six in Chikanga.
This has seen a total of 16 functional tower lights in Dangamvura, 40 in Chikanga and three in Sakubva out of the 78 tower lights in the entire city.
“We have removed 15 tower lights that had outlived their lifespan and they could not be repaired anymore and were becoming a danger to the residents. Our thrust, is to push for the restoration of functioning public light and improve the safety of our residents and stakeholders at night.
“More so, we are pushing for the night tourism development and that objective can only be realised when we have a functioning public light,” he said.
Mutiwi said though the repairs were financed by the street light levy paid by residents, the funds were still meagre to meet the demand of repairs.
“Our major challenge is that the collection ratio visa vie the demand of the infrastructure which need to be required there is a lot of mismatch.
“Our collections can not meet the demand for repairs of street lights and more so considering that it is only 41 per month per property.
“If revenue inflows improve, we definitely make greater impact but important to say we are slowly moving in the right direction,” said Mutiwi.