THE BULAWAYO Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) has accused Transport and infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu for deliberately side-lining them in the ongoing discussions over proposed urban tolling.
Mpofu told Southern Eye on Thursday after touring the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) mechanical workshop that the government was working with local authorities in setting up proposed urban tollgates and consultations were currently underway.
He also reiterated that there was no going back on city tollgates.
But BPRA co-ordinator Roderick Fayayo said Mpofu should have consulted them as well because tollgates are going to affect all residents.
“Our expectations were that Mpofu would consult all stakeholders concerned before making a unilateral decision,” he said.
“He should listen to people because the people are the ones going to be affected.
“People have said no to tollgates, but he is turning a deaf ear.”
BPRA organising secretary Ambrose Sibindi said days when ministers could just impose decisions on people were long gone.
“The issue of urban tollgates will affect residents to a large extent and Mpofu should engage people not to just make decisions for them,” Sibindi said.
“People are suffering and they are failing to pay their rates, but Mpofu wants to overburden
“The government was supposed to resuscitate industries first before initiating urban tollgates.
“Industries are grossly malfunctioning. Where will people get the money from?”
Sibindi said Mpofu was unilaterally imposing the tollgate decision on residents because he will not be affected.
Mpofu has argued that introduction of urban tollgates would decongest cities and raise money for infrastructural development, particularly rehabilitation of the road network.
The government has been constructing tollgates on the country’s highways as a way of raising revenue to rehabilitate roads and also to build new ones.
However, there has been concern money being raised from tollgates is not put into proper use as most roads continue in a poor state.