THE government is working with local authorities in setting up the proposed urban tollgates and consultations are still underway, Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu said yesterday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a tour of the National Railways of Zimbabwe mechanical workshop, Mpofu said there was need to bring tollgates to where there are many vehicles.
“The government will not be taking over roads from councils because all roads belong to the government,” he said. “The government is responsible for national transport and we are working together with both urban and rural councils — it is a collaborative initiative.
“You will remember that even in the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) local authorities are represented on the board.
“Former Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo is in the board. It is a collaborative initiative that will be administered by stakeholders.”
He said he was happy the proposal for urban tollgates had ignited so much debate.
“You don’t take a tollgate to where there are few vehicles. We need to raise revenue so that we can promote sustainable development in the country,” the minister said.
Mpofu also revealed that there were about 500 000 unregistered vehicles on the country’s roads.
“We have come up with a strategy to make sure that all these cars are registered. We are computerising the Vehicle Inspection Depot and the Central Vehicle Registry so we will be inviting tenders soon,” he said.
“We cannot afford to have so many unregistered vehicles on our roads because they are the ones that cause accidents that have claimed the lives of so many people. All these strategies are done in line with the Zanu PF manifesto and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation (Zim Asset).”
The move to introduce urban tolling has been met with mixed reactions with consumer and workers’ organisations vowing to resist the plans saying this would burden the already suffering workers as the cost will be passed on to ordinary people.
However, local authorities backed Mpofu’s plan saying urban tolling was not only globally acceptable, but would inject money that would help in improving roads.