Mpofu speaks on toll fees

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TRANSPORT minister Obert Mpofu yesterday said the recent 100% increase in tollgate fees is aimed at improving the country’s road network and infrastructure.

NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Speaking to Southern Eye on the sidelines of a tour of the Victoria Falls International Airport with a Chinese delegation in the resort town, Mpofu said the new charges were not even enough to fund the rehabilitation of all roads.

“Zinara (Zimbabwe National Roads Administration) has been collecting an average of $40 million dollars a year and that $40 million cannot develop more than 20km of a tarred road,” he said.

“We are being attacked by members of the public that our roads are not being improved, but how do we improve the entire national road network on a paltry $40 million?”

Harare High Court judge Justice Joseph Mafusire this week dismissed an application filed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) seeking to halt the increase in tollgate fees by up to 100%.

ZLHR claimed the hike was unconstitutional and unjustified, while the government argued that the cash was needed for road maintenance.

Mpofu said the government would continue engaging other stakeholders to ensure roads are rehabilitated.

“We will be engaging other stakeholders as the government in improving our roads and we will make sure that every cent is used for its purpose,” he said. “A declaration has been made by the judiciary of this country which was favourable to us and we want to develop our roads; this is not for any personal benefit, but it is for the nation.

“We have been experiencing a lot of accidents on our roads because they have not been rehabilitated and surfaced so we want to assure the public that every penny of monies received from tolling will go towards the development of our road infrastructure.

“I see no reason why people should really make it difficult for this to happen. It is happening throughout the world. Right now I’m hosting a Chinese delegation which was very clear in its explanation about road tolls in their country that their entire sophisticated infrastructure is funded by those who use the roads and there has not been any questions about it,” Mpofu added.

Meanwhile, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Cain Mathema urged China to invest in the province saying it was rich in natural resources.

“Zimbabwe and China have very good relations and we encourage them to invest in our country. We have timber, coal and gold in this region and we want more Chinese companies to come and invest in these fields,” he said.

The leader of the Chinese delegation Guo Jinlang said he was pleased with the developments he had seen at the airport and encouraged Zimbabweans and Chinese professionals to continue sharing their skills.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think its true. $40 million is a lot of money guys, lets call a spade a spade. If my memory serves me well, a local newspaper once put the collection figure at $200 million.

  2. Tolls should be paid for infrastructure that has been developed to enable investors to get back their investments with profit and to maintain that infrastructure going forward. I doubt that anyone would disagree with paying tolls for good roads. It is wrong to charge for services that have not been offered. Government should get investors to build infrastructure, own it to recover their costs with profit and then hand the infrastructure to Government. Toll gets can be built together with the construction of new roads. The current set up of toll gates on old roads is tantamount to denying citizens the freedom of movement which is a human right entrenched in the constitution and other regional and international instruments. The older roads should remain as alternatives for citizens and others who may opt out of paying tolls. Not everyone will afford paying tolls. As such, i submit that it is illegal for the ministry to install toll gates on infrastructure that was built many years back. Most of those roads have outlived their lifespans. Thus, a responsible government should not raise money using expired infrastructure under a guise that they want to maintain the infrastructure. Moreover, motorists in Zimbabwe have been paying road taxes through fuel [petrol and diesel] since the 1980s. There is absolutely nothing on the ground to show for all the money that was and i presume is still being collected through taxes in fuel purchased at various outlets.

    Can the Honorable Minister O. Mpofu arrange for an audit of all the moneys that motorists have been paying since the 1980s to date inclusive of that collected from toll gates and have these accountants tabled in Parliament before increasing rates at toll gates?

    Is the Honorable Minister now saying that the cost of constructing a kilometre of road was unknown when these toll gate fees were first introduced?

  3. where the hell did they get this guy, he seems to be chaos in every ministry he’s holding, remember what happened with the diamonds? now hes messing up a functioning transport system

  4. these ministers have got serious proplems, they do not pay toll fees, do not pay taxes, give their kid scholaships under the presidential scheme, use range rovers which do not use e-85 yet they:-)
    1. Increase taxes where there is no employment
    2.increase toll fees without considering the plight to motorist.
    3,talk of compulsary blending without looking at the effects on cars, the cost of blended petrol is actually higher than unleaded petrol.

    Zvichapera chete, because he cannot say the 40million is not enough to construct 20km of road. If big five say it cost them 200million to construct the road from mutare to plumtree, how any kms, do your mathematics minister murikubamari yematoll feescnemitero.

    It costs 250 to 300 dollars to construct a metre of tarred road, which means for 20km you need 6million compared to the ministers 40million,hiw much is zino renyu, nyika ingaregere kufa here pakadai.

    Thus why airport road which is less than 20km could not be finished with 250million dollars, kubachete chete.

    Smith was and is still far better than this gorvernment of thieves, smith could build houses for gardern boys kudz uko, and what has yourvgorvernment done. Unoti dai smith asina kuvaka kariba dam taidai tiri papi. this zpf gorvernment failed to finish tokwe mukosi dam by 2014 but smith got it on his plan in 1963.

    Varungu did lakecchivero from 1950 to 1953thus smiths record,this gorvernment is always blaming other people for their own failures.

    Smith had less than 15 ministers,and mugabe has 36ministers plus 36deputies.we inherited parliament with 140 legislators now they are 240 plus senate, but still there is no value addittion.

    Blacks takatukwa chete because we are not accoutable to any one, we killed this country far far back.

  5. There were no toll gates when the Europeans built this country, whose infrastructure we inherited at independence. There is a road tax if I’m not mistaken which should deal with the road maintenance and expansion, but alas that was not enough so they bring us toll gates to bolster this yet these two sources dont seem to be doing much. These two sources of funds snatched their funding from citizens with a promise of goodwill cannot even serve its citizen, then mybe in the near future we will have a third form of tax so fill in the gap when we have not even seen what work the road tax has done and what the zinara and their tollgates have done. Suffer the citizen all in the name of serving you, poor citizen.

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