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Council roads in bad state

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BULAWAYO’S road network is in a bad state and the city council does not have resources to rehabilitate the infrastructure, a senior official has said.

NQOBILE BHEBHE
CHIEF REPORTER

Simela Dube, the city’s director of engineering services told a 2015 budget consultative meeting last week that 1 498km of Bulawayo’s 2 065km road network needed rehabilitation.

Dube said only 351km of the road network was in good shape and 246km was ranked fair.

“We are having challenges in rehabilitating our road network and most of it is in a bad state,” he said.

“The most affected are the townships (western suburbs). Although we are patching up roads, it will take time to cover the whole city.”

Dube said out of a target of 70km gravel roads, only 7,5km had been graded in the city.

According to the latest council report, the engineering department said it still lacked equipment.

“Only one of the council graders being refurbished had been commissioned. Labour had continued to decline as people who retired or passed on were not replaced,” reads part of the report.

According to the city’s 2014 budget, $9,6 million was budgeted for the maintenance of roads, bridges, storm water drainage systems, processing of development permits and other services.

Last year, the government, through the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, handed over a state-of-the-art pothole patching machine to council as part of the recapitalisation of local authorities which started in 2013 and is expected to end next year.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo told the consultative meeting that council was working hard to alleviate unemployment by luring investors.

“As a city, we are making efforts to address the unemployment, but it’s a macroeconomic challenge,” he said.

“We have hosted through our economic development department several foreign delegates and conducted a tour of industry to show them investment opportunities.

“However, it’s a major issue and I hear there is ZimAsset which is said to be the panacea to all our economic problems.”

ZimAsset is a five-year (2013 to 2018) economic blueprint extracted from the Zanu PF election manifesto that focuses on four pillars — food security and nutrition, social services and poverty reduction, infrastructure and utilities and value addition and beneficiation.

Acting town clerk Sikhangele Zhou said council was turning its beer halls into factories in an effort to reduce unemployment.

She said carpentry and wielding factory shells and vending sites would be established across the city.

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